Posts tagged Community Choice

What I’m doing to evolve the Program Committee next

Since I wrote about how we’ve been evolving the Program Committee in the past, I thought Id write about some of the ways we’re trying to change the Program Committee in the future.

But first, I want to clarify something that someone else pointed out to me.  When I write about the Program Committee, I always say “We”.  When working on something as complex as the program for the summit, it is necessary to work as a very cohesive team.  This leadership team I am a part of is who makes all of the tactical decisions about the way we manage the education at the Summit.  I always refer to “us” as “we” because I cannot (and will not) take all of the credit for putting the Summit education together.  Without the team, the committee wouldn’t be half of what it is.  While I have been the overarching member of this team (the 1 they cant seem to run off) , the others are always there when we have work to do.  Well, except Jeremiah, He’s got this new gig where he’s a turtle hunter or something….

We’ve been working hard over the last 2 years to bring some exciting (well, exciting to me anyway) changes to the program committee.   A couple of these changes you should start seeing official announcements about any day now but, I decided to be a tease…

  • We’re going to be opening another limited call for speakers for a new session type
  • There are 2 new session types coming (well, 1 is a bit old but, its new & shiney)

Some additional thoughts I have about evolving this process are in no particular order

  • Expand the use of Community Choice Sessions to include pre/post conferences(1 or maybe more), Id love to even be able to give those who vote for the precon that is selected a discount code to use on that precon.
    • have a separate speaker review team that will rate/rank speakers across all tracks and sessions, so we can cut down on the differing ratings per speaker.
    • Allow that team to reject speakers without considering abstracts if they dont meet some predefined criteria (no exact ideas on those criteria yet)
    • Have a Virtual Chapter sponsored session category.  The initial idea is if a VC is active, (say has XX events a year) we allot them 1 speaker slot that they can then award to one of their best speakers (as they see fit within some reasonable framework).
    • Use the session evaluation tool for all PASS events (local, chapter, sqlsat, summit, rally)
    • Expand the feedback for speakers when we dont accept their presentation at the Summit.  Allow the review teams to leave free form comments, as well as a standardized reasons we’re using now

    If you believe in these changes and you like how I communicate them, consider voting for me. I’m running for the PASS Board of Directors, and I need your help to make a difference.  Click here to read about why I’m running.

    PASS Summit Community Choice Session results revealed

    This year the Program Committee decided to try something different to increase community involvement with the abstract selection process for the annual summit.  We decided to allow any registered PASS members to vote on the final  4 community sessions to be presented at the Summit in Seattle this year.  With our historically low turnout in surveys of our membership, I turned to the team at PASSHQ with a simple question about whether or not we could use the same voting tool that is in place for the upcoming Board of Directors election.  Considering our surveys have traditionally resulted in 300-500 results , at the time I put a personal goal on the survey response rate of 500, anything greater than that and I would consider the time and energy It took to put it together a win, anything less and well, we wouldn’t be doing any more exploring in the use of public voting for Summit Sessions.

    I’m VERY pleased to say that by all indications, the voting process was a great success, sure we will always aim to do better but, for now, having over 1100 people vote on what they want to see at the Summit is a huge win for PASS as an organization.  In the App Dev group, the winner was declared by 2 votes.   2 votes out of 600 is pretty outstanding, if you didn’t take the time and vote, you could have been the vote that swayed the result!!  Don’t miss your chance next time!!  The winning sessions can be found here

    I want to take the time to thank each and every member of the awesome PASS Community who voted.  As well as Jeremiah Peschka (Twitter|Blog) & Lori Edwards (Twitter|Blog) for dealing with my crazy ideas on putting this together, and keeping me in check.  Andy Warren (Twitter|Blog) for helping me get the voting tool he built for pass working for this use.  Id also like to give a huge thanks to Hannes, Wesley and Elena at PASSHQ for helping bring all of this to PASS (pun intended)

    Dont forget to vote for the PASS Summit Community Choice sessions

    If you are a PASS member, on August 3rd you should have gotten an email inviting you to vote on four of the sessions to be presented at the 2010 PASS Summit.

    There are some great sessions up for selection, You can review them here.

    If you havent voted yet, be on the lookout today for a reminder. You should get an email with personal links to vote, it will only take a few minutes of your time and your opinion counts!

    If you’ve already voted, I want to thank you, if not please take this time to do so.  If we can get enough community interest in this process I can see it growing and morphing into something more so while your opinion counts on the actual selections, your vote can also help shape the future way PASS does session selections.

    More on PASS Summit Community Choice sessions & a general PASS update

    More on PASS Summit Community Choice sessions  

    Last week I posted about letting the PASS membership select 4 of the Community sessions to be presented at this year’s North American Summit.  As with most things I’ve touched lately, the devil is in the details.  I have been working with PASS HQ quite a lot to get this process all ironed out.  As of today, We are expecting the emails with all of the details to go out in the first part of next week.  One of the last minute *details* we’ve had to account for is related to asking community members to vote in the 4 different categories, it turns out we aren’t able to require it to work that way.  The short reason why is because of the way the PASS voting solution is designed (remember, its actually designed for voting in the upcoming BOD election)  We cant have 4 separate categories and allow you to vote only in 1 each.  While we are still separating the sessions into categories and asking you to vote on each one separately, we wont be able to enforce it.  As it turns out, its not that big of a change and even if our members choose to cast their votes all in the same category, their votes will simply be cancelled out since we are going to choose the highest vote getter in each of the categories.  So start watching those email boxes for more detailed information!

    Other PASS goodness

    Summit Selection Process follow-up meetings, since shortly after the community selection process finished, I have been on phone conferences with the selection teams for feedback about the entire selection process.  These meetings have been going great, and overall the feedback was extremely positive, both about the process and the volunteer experience in general.  That’s not to say the team members weren’t critical of a few hiccups we experienced but overall it was good.  In these meetings nothing was off-limits, and I got some GREAT new ideas that should really improve a few of the key procedural pieces of the process.  Many of the technological limitations and issues we knew about going into the selection but, with all the timelines, we just couldn’t get changes made quick enough.  Since PASS is building a summit management tool for 2011, we should have many of those technology issues behind us for the start of next year’s selection process.  All in all, It always helps us to get feedback about the selection as soon as its over while its still fresh in everyone’s minds.  the #1 piece of feedback that kept recurring is: Communication is key.  What I have taken from this is that even if you think everyone’s on the same page, its often ok to ask again if there are any questions, better safe than sorry.

    Microsoft Speaker selections, Ive been doing this for the last 4 years and this year was the first year where I felt like we (the community team) have been actively engaged with the Microsoft Selection process, we’re still trying to figure out how all the different pieces fit together and where we can add value and community feedback into their processes.  So far things are working better than I expected but not as good as I’d like.  Seems to be the story of my life these days!!!  All of this is great news for the community since it will produce a better Summit but, its been bad news for myself and  the other volunteers working on it.  For me, being the pseudo ring leader, Its just 1 more thing added to an already full plate this time of year. From the day the call to speakers is announced to the date the summit actually starts, is when things get pretty hectic with the Program Committee, there are always a few “regularly scheduled items” that have to be completed by certain deadlines not to mention the things that go BOOM.  The regular scheduled stuff isnt a big deal, the BOOM’s on the other hand, lets just say Disaster Recovery planning isn’t just for Databases or Computers, it is valuable in most any important process.

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