D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Code Camp Lessons Learned

Sunday, February 17, 2008 11:53 PM

Now that the code camp is over, it's time for some reflection of what went well, what we'd do differently, and what others should watch out for in planning their own code camp.

Do get a solid team for pulling off a Code Camp

The guys we had organizing our event were top notch and is the main reason the event went off without a hitch. Organizing an event like this is not trivial, and you need to ensure that you have a team around you that buys into the event.

Do contact sponsors and don't be afraid to ask for help!

I'm still stunned at the generosity of our sponsors, both local and remote! We literally gave away thousands of dollars in books, software, and conference admission. These sponsors also provided us with paper pads, pens, and bags for the event. We also had great local sponsors who put up money for breakfast, lunch, and the venue itself. Don't be afraid to approach your community for support...you'll be surprised (pleasantly) at how willing people are to help out.

Do ensure that you put up proper signage within your venue.

We were spread out across a college campus, which although was contained within two buildings still required some signage to guide people. Make sure you have that up. Also, check what time doors are open on weekends. Our registration time started at 7:30 Am...but public doors weren't open until 8:00...so we had some extra signs put up at the doors telling people to buzz security for that half hour for access. It all worked out, but it was a last-minute fix that we should have caught earlier.

Do bring a spare projector, even if the venue is providing some.

We ran into a weird situation. One projector in one of the rooms kept acting up...but only with my laptop and another presenters...we both happen to have the same model of HP Pavillion laptop. Everyone else that used the room had no issues...well, except for one speaker who's Mac wouldn't recognize the second monitor while running Boot Camp and Vista, so he used my laptop, which didn't work with the projector. Let me be a bit more specific: it seemed that the cable was *bad* because it made the screen go really static-ish. But it was fine with other laptops...so ???. We had to grab a spare projector at the last second so that the presentations weren't interrupted, so all worked out...but just remember: always plan for the worst, and have backups.

Do expect some drop-off in registration

We had over 110 people register for the event, and 79 people showed up. Out of that, 10 were people that didn't register. So don't assume your numbers are going to be bang on. We were aiming for 75 to 100 attendees, and were very happy with the crowd we got out.

I'll edit this post if I think of any more, but there's some general tips if you're planning a code camp or have been thinking about having one.

D




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