The definitive guide to large scale events. Team. Budget. Content.

The definitive guide to large scale events. Team. Budget. Content.

GDG Lviv (Ukraine) team is going to share experience and practical tips from organizing few of the biggest IT conferences in the country.

We'll cover how did our team organize the work, structure of the team, our budgeting approach, and content selection.

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Vitaliy Zasadnyy

October 08, 2016
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  1. 1.

    The definitive guide for running DevFest on a scale Team.

    Budget. Content. Vitaliy Zasadnyy Founder @ GDG Lviv
  2. 3.

    3 years ago… 3 years ago a young team of

    GDG organisers decided to move DevFest from the capital of the country to their home city. 3 years ago they had no experience in conference organisation, no experience on working with sponsors, partners, media. They made a lot of mistakes. But never gave up. Trying new approaches, iteratively collecting and analysing feedback they slowly improved all aspects or conference organisation.
  3. 5.

    DevFest Ukraine 700 33 10,000+ In the last 3 years

    we have grown DevFest Ukraine from the small conference to one of the biggest tech events in the CEE. More than 700 attendees, 33 speakers, 10k+ views of recorded sessions on YouTube
  4. 6.

    Lviv IT Arena 80+ Stadium 2,000+ Besides that we’re co-organizers

    of Lviv IT Arena - conference that two years in a row collects 2000 developers from all around the Ukraine on a football stadium to share latest trends in IT.
  5. 7.

    BIG DOES NOT SUCCESSFUL MEAN We never took the size

    as a measure of success, instead we rely on the feedback collected from the attendees
  6. 8.

    DevFest Ukraine Success * 91% satisfaction rate 78% pointed to

    content quality 100% ready to recommend DevFest 2017 * based on 2016 attendees feedback
  7. 10.

    Source: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis

    non erat sem Timeline DevFest Ukraine September 9-10 Start March 13 4-6 month ? From our experience, 4-month is minimum you need to prepare a conference. But, what should be done for this time?
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    Source: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis

    non erat sem Workload & responsibilities Sample: bit.ly/dfguide-workload
  9. 12.

    Source: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis

    non erat sem Team Content Venue Budget Website Sales Catering Hosting Production Party Graphic Assets Volunteers Media There are a lot of aspects of the organisation. Each one requires a separate presentation.
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    Source: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis

    non erat sem Team Content Venue Budget Website Sales Catering Hosting Production Party Graphic Assets Volunteers Media
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  12. 17.
  13. 18.

    Vision of the event Drive the organisation Be aware of

    current state of organisation Take the responsibility Role By responsibility we mean contracts with partners, subcontractors, etc. Also, responsibility for failure of the event, or success.
  14. 19.

    Physically located in one city Everyone has 1+ area of

    responsibility Each area has only 1 responsible 3-10 people (see SCRUM) Requirements Some roles, like speakers management can be done remotely. Vitaliy lives in The Netherlands and is a part of the Core team. Ideally team should be located in one city to be able to have in-person meetings. But our team proved that it is not a mandatory requirement.
  15. 20.

    Sprint planning every 2-3 week Result oriented tasks Everyone reports

    during Sprint planning Getting things done The tasks should have measurable results. If, in one sprint, the task could not be finished, it should be divided.
  16. 25.

    Structure Core Media Speakers etc. GDG Crew … e.g The

    Core team member responsible for media creates a sub team from the GDG Crew team.
  17. 26.

    Workflow Task after Sprint planning Ideas At the sprint planning

    the sub team leader reports the progress to the Core team. After the sprint planning the sub team leader communicates the tasks to the team.
  18. 27.

    Notes Same influence as Core Participation in 1+ subteam Sync

    calls upon need Slack channel Important to understand that anyone form the GDG Crew team can influence the organisation process, propose new ideas, etc
  19. 30.

    Volunteers Public registration form Start recruitment 1 month prior event

    Motivate with 30-40% free time Sample: bit.ly/dfguide-callforvolunteers
  20. 31.

    IS MORE BETTER All 44 DevFest Ukraine volunteers It is

    better to have too many volunteers than not enough.
  21. 32.

    Getting things done Schedule/responsibilities doc Managed by Core Team member

    Training one day before conference Make them easy to find Sample schedule: bit.ly/dfguide-volunteers To make volunteers easy to find we give them bright t-shirts. All volunteers should know where the WC, schedule, etc. are. They are the first contact point for attendees => training is mandatory.
  22. 33.
  23. 34.

    Taking control of your budget is not a sprint it

    is a marathon — Dave Ramsey
  24. 35.

    Expenses expenses graph It is important to track all expenses,

    so at the end you will be able to identify “whales” of spending.
  25. 36.

    Budget timeline Time Having detailed transactions log will allow you

    to build a budget timeline, like one below. Notice big incomes (blue bars).
  26. 37.

    Budget timeline (delayed income) Time If any of your big

    incomes is delayed you’ll get to the situation when your budget will be negative and you’ll have to invest your own money.
  27. 38.

    Budget timeline (no income) Time But it is not the

    worst case scenario. What if you won’t find enough income source. You’ll finish conference organization with negative budet. You don’t want this.
  28. 40.

    MINIMIZE RISK THE Your goal as a non-profit organization is

    to make a great event and minimise the risk of having negative balance at the end.
  29. 42.

    Pessimistic income Pessimistic expenses Security pillow Detailed budget planning $

    You always have to have a security pillow of cash for expenses you’ve forgot to include in the budget or unexpected ones.
  30. 44.

    Paid entrance We charge an entrance fee, so it covers

    catering costs. Try to minimise the risk of the biggest expense in your budget - catering.
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    Ticket price [attendees] 700 [early birds] 150 = [lazy birds]

    300 + [students] 150 + [free] 100 + 600 paying attendees
  33. 48.

    Ticket price [early birds] 35 USD [lazy birds] 45 USD

    [students] 20 USD When you have the average ticket price, you can balance out all ticket prices, so the average income will match avg. ticket price.
  34. 52.

    Other best practices Sign contracts with everyone Do 70/30 payments

    There is no fixed prices Track all expenses
  35. 56.

    What are priorities? Topics? We used to check topics from

    the Google I/O and find speakers to cover them. It worked quite well, but not perfect. Some sessions were almost empty.
  36. 57.

    Data driven content selection DECITIONS DATA DRIVEN In 2016 we

    decided that all out decisions regarding the content should be backed by data. Before opening c4p, we sent out survey to get data.
  37. 58.

    Why people go to a DevFest* *data collected during registration

    Learn something new Improve existing skills Networking Hands-on
  38. 59.

    Content breakdown Hands-on Workshops, demos Improve existing skills Sessions, workshops

    Learn something new Sessions, workshops, demos Networking Party, contests
  39. 60.

    Why did we stop doing hackathons? 12 hours are not

    enough Logistically complex task Hard decision for attendee
  40. 61.

    Workshops Google Codelabs Damn good Wi-Fi Quick env. setup Max

    30 people Speaker physically can’t make effective workshop for more than 30 people. There always will be att., who forgot to set up env. As a result, they will start loading huge binaries during the event => you WiFi has to handle it. Also, prepare a quick guide for environment set up.
  41. 63.

    Party 2 types of attendees: Networkers Party Animals Your task

    as an organiser is to create a quite environment with easy background music for networking and set up kilowatts of sound for party animals. In one connected space.
  42. 65.

    Timeline DevFest Ukraine September 9-10 Start March Close c4p July

    17 Help Speakers Open c4p Announce results July 31 Promote c4p Sample c4p: bit.ly/dfguide-c4p
  43. 66.

    Two types of speakers Experts Brand Speakers Brand speakers (hight

    title, famous company, etc) will drive tickets sales and can provide guarantee of quality. But not always. Experts can deliver amazing presentations, but it’s hard for attendees to know that before the event.
  44. 67.

    Brand Speakers Two types of speakers Experts Unicorns Ideally you

    want to get the best of two words, you want to get “Unicorns”.
  45. 68.

    Where to get speakers? Evangelists GDEs Other Conferences Grow from

    the Community But watch out. Make sure that evangelist is not going to do a marketing/ sales talk. DevFest is a tech conference at the end. The best option is evangelists. In general they cover their trip on their own and the quality of the talk is very high.
  46. 70.

    Select speakers Check the c4p data Content should be experience

    based, not documentation based Check the best performing speakers from the last year Check English knowledge Check video recording from previous events / posts / GitHub Select multifunctional speaker (session + workshop)
  47. 72.

    Help speakers Information about audience Information about equipment Slide templates

    Deadlines for slides submission Feedback on each submission Practice on stage
  48. 74.

    If you will follow all the best practices, there is

    a chance that you’ll get feedback like this.
  49. 75.

    SECURE BACKUP SPEAKER Always have a backup speaker on the

    event to secure yourself from last minute dropouts. He should be as prepared as any other speaker. Also, you have to treat him a speaker
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    non erat sem Team • Layered • SCRUM • Proper tooling
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    non erat sem Budget • Plan, plan, PLAN! • Making entrance fee • Negotiate all deals • Sign contracts. Always.
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    Source: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis

    non erat sem Content • Data driven content selection • Pay a lot of attention while selecting speakers • Help speakers • Always have a backup
  53. 83.

    Samples • Workload & Responsibilities: bit.ly/dfguide-workload • Volunteers Schedule: bit.ly/dfguide-volunteers

    • Media Plan: bit.ly/dfguide-mediaplan • Call for Papers: bit.ly/dfguide-c4p • Sponsorship Proposition: bit.ly/dfguide-sponsorship • Volunteers Registration: bit.ly/dfguide-callforvolunteers
  54. 84.

    Tools • Documents sharing: drive.google.com • For mail lists: mailchimp.com

    • For easy social sharing: buffer.com • For easy social media monitoring and sharing: hootsuite.com • Conference website template by GDG[x]: github.com/gdg-x/hoverboard