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PPI Conference: Planning summary

Why this summary?

During PPI I had a very nice guest who joined me at my place. He recommended to me, that I should do this summary to help PPI and the next organisers of the conference to have an easier life while planning. So here we go...

Team planning

Build up a core team. You should try to identify the different tasks and divide them among your core team. Communicate with each team member regularly to get progress reports. We had the following team:

  • Orga-head (maintaining contact to PPI, having financial survey, signing contracts, coordinating) - PLAN TO BE BUSY!
  • Streaming/Audio (recommended to keep together)
  • Beamer
  • Venue contact
  • LAN/WLAN repsonsible
  • head marshal (marshal building a team)
  • shuttling organiser (plan ahead regarding conference times and available bus lines)
  • planner and organiser of the social events in the evening
  • a press delegate with a prepared press release
  • you might also like to have an ambulance man near during conference time

I'd suggest to have some more (we hadn't):

  • head of catering (catering team building), doing/delegating shopping
  • consumables organiser (paper, pens, venue signs et al.)

You should plan at least once every two weeks a general (telco) assembly including the team and the PPI-Co-Presidents. The Orga-head should regularely communicate with everyone.

Conference style

Get this clarified very early (I suggest at the start of planning) - on this depends:

  • the venue
  • the technical stuff (eg. LAN vs WLAN etc)
  • the amount of helpers/assistants
  • the amount and kind of consumables
  • the seatorder that is to be built up

Accommodation

It has proven rather difficult to get hotels (and contingents) and conference guests coordinated via two edges (PPI & Orgateam). Taking a look back, it seems that everyone found a place to stay. So look out for some recommendations (like youth hostels, some private places to stay and an internet portal that offers some hotels at reasonable prices, but do not get in too deeply) and send them in time (at least 3-4 weeks before the conference) to PPI. Do not do bookings or stuff like that - it didn't work.

Financing

Still on the way to finish, it seems our concept worked out. The whole financing ran together in the hand of the Orga-Team. Mind you, there are some ways to get money and one to spare:

  • ask your local chapters and pirate organisations for donations - but (this was not performed to my knowledge) also ask PPI to ask every national Pirate Party to donate. Also small amounts of money can sum up quite nicely.
  • look for private sponsors, that might fit into the "pirate idea". Do this early (at least two months before the conference date) - you should precisely clarify, who might be interested locally (IMO via the orga-Team), but also who is the one who proposes the sponsorship (IMO better via PPI, more official).
  • finally make a conference fee (for parttakers) - without we wouldn't have succeeded. A very reasonable plan was to make an early payer's reduction, as every cent you have on your account early makes your planning easier.
  • prepare an alternative way of payment early (moneybooker's e-wallet may work) for those who have to pay high fees to do a banking transaction.
  • get as much of the stuff you need organised by yourselves as you can.

Catering

Plan this wisely - best might be if you're allowed to do it by yourselves (ask your possible venue provider early):

  • advantage: spares costs and makes you much more flexible in buying correct amounts of food/drinks, since you can do this at a later point in time when you know better who's coming.
  • disadvantage: This is a fulltime job for at least two helpers - these may rotate, if you have enough trustful persons.
  • honest recommendation: do not sell alcohol (we didn't either) - this will sadden some delegates, but in the end, you will have less trouble...
  • take a deposit for cups and plates - you wouldn't like to clean up like 500 dishes after conference end...

Material acquisition

Only one recommendation: clarify with the venue-provider what you may bring along. Then organise the stuff and bring it along. What did we need:

  • some streaming equipment
  • a beamer (min. 2500 Lum should work, nobody complained about low resolution at 800x600)
  • a projecion wall (this you should discuss with the venue-provider, it may be freely available)
  • a sound equipment (what you need depends on the size of the conference, at least two wireless micros are highly recommended)
  • a laser-printer (with enough toner)
  • sufficient LAN/WLAN equipment (depends on how the conference's style)
  • sufficient Power distribution: Multi-plugs and extension cords (depends on how the conference's style)
  • power and sufficient bandwith for all the above
  • two cash boxes (one for accreditiation, one for the catering)
  • exchange money (especially for the catering)
  • badges + conference parttaker name printouts
  • venue signs
  • special: If you have some money left, try to get a multinational power adapter. Guests will be thankful!

Social events

Plan this wisely ahead - send out a mail in time to ask who might be joining:

  • at least two weeks before the conference, one week confirmation time.
  • do this via PPI, they have a contact list

Thus you can book a reasonable number of seats.

Before conference

It is necessary to be able to find everyone. Thus make a phone list containing:

  • The orga team
  • The venue team
  • The PPI conference responsibles
  • The caterer (if extern)
  • all others, that might be important during the conference

All numbers of PPI Conference 2011 in Friedrichshafen

This is still incomplete, since we're not through yet (so subject to change/add):

  • parttakers: about 75

Special Orga head tasks

This is a very personal view, but I'd like to add it. During conference your personal tasks are:

  • be ready to help, whenever you're asked for (and of course, be always reachable)
  • try to divide the workload in a fair way (exchange your helper's posts)
  • help your helpers
  • enjoy yourself as much as you can and keep the spirits high - but take honest critisism earnestly
  • write another report after the conference - it might help your succeeder

And thanks go to

I'd like to thank everyone who worked with me:

  • My helpers (order without importance):
    • Martin (Rhinux)
    • Richard (SuchenWi)
    • Timo (:))
    • Timo (bl4ck)
    • Larry (MartyMcFly)
    • Roman(Spike)+Girlfriend
    • Stephan (ScumPH) & especially all his family
    • Wolfgang (pirate streaming)
    • Dave&Theresa
    • Markus (Tasukram)
    • Pascal
  • representing Social event orga by Pirates w/o borders:
    • Georg S. & Moira
  • the former Co-Presidents of PPI and co-organisers:
    • Jerry
    • Gregory
  • representing the open space facilitators:
    • Björn (and his team)
  • representing the venue-providers (Messe Friedrichshafen)
    • Mrs. Kolenda
  • representing catering Eberhard Klink team:
    • Mrs. Blaser
  • private sponsors (money or equip):
    • Jerry
    • Mr. Gebhard
    • Alpha-Team
    • Roman & his network-friends
    • Wolfgang (pirate streaming)
    • Martin K (Thanks for the sound!)
  • party sponsors (money or equip):
    • German pirate party
    • Luxemburg pirate party
    • LV Baden-Württemberg pirate party
    • BzV Tübingen pirate party
    • KV Ravensburg-Bodenseekreis
    • representing the BundesIT:Thorsten Froese

If I forgot YOU: really sorry about this, tell me, I'll add you instantly. You all provided money and/or time and/or material to support this event. Thanks!