Monday, May 20, 2013

Organizing oSC13 - 58 days before

Meetings-planning-searching-meetings and here we go again meetings-planning-searching-meetings. Of course not always with that turn and some times with even more meetings. Having A LOT of meetings is the necessary 'evil' when organizing a conference. In meetings you get to interact with other people, get feedback and generate new ideas out of the interaction. You get to know what is going well and what it does not, where you need more things to be done and where you need less things to be done. What works and what it doesn't. Nevertheless meetings although they are necessary for the organization hide what I think is the biggest enemy of an organization. This enemy is Paralysis by analysis.

An experienced person should be able to recognize this after a while but the thing here is that if you fall into this loop, you will have time lost and time as I said before is really precious when you organize an event. Given the fact that within reasonably boundaries anything that you plan can take place, time is your only obstacle. It is the mail reason why many good ideas are left out of the organization of many conferences over the years.

This leads to the conclusion that recognition of Paralysis by analysis after the fact is not enough. When starting to organize something always have that in the back of your head. Avoiding it is not that difficult but at some points require to have a good programming of the meetings. What I've noticed over the year is that most of the times people who cause this are the people who lead and most of those times this happens for 2 reasons.

Case 1: Someone has an idea and you know that this idea is either not viable at the timeline you have or it has failed in the past(there are other reasons too but those are the most common). Now you try to convince this person that you should not do that for X reasons. The person is convinced that the idea is perfect and disagrees with you and you all fall in the loop of trying to prove your point. So after a while you spend more time talking that the actual time that would take for this to be done or for this to be failed. You should have a vision of either let the person do this (if you can afford it) or to have this person directed to documentation or other people so that the person will go look for it and see your point. This problem can be partially predicted while reading the agenda of the meeting and knowing the people you work with. Reading the agenda of the meeting before is always important.

Case 2: I often call that The conference bag problem. You and your team have an idea that will make the conference great. There should be a certain limit of how much time you will spent on talking about anything. Normally ideas like conference bags or conference t-shirts are the ones that make you fall into the loop of Paralysis by analysis. This often happens because subjects like that are more light and have unlimited possibilities.

Having a good programming of the conference meetings can save you from those things if you stick to that. Always have in mind that the only thing that you don't have most of the times is time itself.

1 comment:

  1. +1

    I not only completly agree but I would like to add a single point. Without real commitment by the ppl involved and a trully and transparent collaboration between them, nothing happens. And most of times to have this kind of commitment we usually work with friends does not matter if new friends or old friends, but real friends that are there just because they trust and believe in our idea and mission, and because this, they will never let us alone, doing all the best they can to help us to make the event to happen and be a great and sucessfull event.