This is work in progress - Feel free to add a section


Applying for an Event

Going live

Preparing the event

During the Event

After the Event


Introduction

Congratulations! The fact that you have reached this page means you at least have interest in spreading the 'devops' love to world. Back in 2009 when we organized the first event, we were probably as excited as you are now. But we were also bit 'scared' and full of questions: how does this work? how do we get sponsors? what is the first thing we have to do?

We are now about 20 events later and as many gray hairs have appeared on our heads :). Even though every event is a bit unique in it's own way, we've come to a more of less standard approach for organizing these events. With this document we want to support you and make you feel at ease of organizing one yourself. Don't worry we'll be there along the way!

We recommend you attend at least one of the events first and get in touch with one of the core organizers


Assembling a team

In the devops spirit of collaboration, find people in your region that want to help you run the next awesome event. Finding friends is easier then you think:

You see, that was easy. This has been the start of many of the events, and the magic works nice everytime, believe us.


Budgetting

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Distributing the work

With the organizers it's best to discuss the following tasks/responsabilities. Of course this is not set in stone, but it helps for people to focus on different tasks


Code of Conduct

The text below serves as a basis to use as a code of conduct for events:

Inclusiveness and respect for differences are core devops values, and we invite you to help us make each devopsdays conference a place that is welcoming and respectful to all participants. Attendees that are acting in a manner not consistent with these values may be asked to leave the conference without a refund at the sole discretion of the conference organizers.

Contact Information

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact one of the following conference organizers (via phone or SMS):

Insert contact of local organizers here

Conference organizers will be happy to address any issues and assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.


Selecting a date

Now that you have some friends for along the way, next step it finding a date. We usually take the following into consideration to find a good date:

Nice work! You got a good idea of a date, one step closer to success!


Selecting a venue

You got friends, and you have a date (no, not that kind of date) , what's next? You guessed it, the perfect venue! If you can take this hurdle, you're 80% there! gogo!

Let's first see what we need from a venue from a space point:

Besides having enough space, there are other things to consider:

A final big space differentiator is the pricing: as the prices of a devopsdays range from free to pretty low, we can't afford to pay the big bucks there. We got around this in the past by:

Don't overcommit on the number of people coming and don't do a pre-payment for the venue yet. Do this when the event gets more body and you've processed a few more steps. The same goes for food: it's always easier to add a few extra plates as opposed to having too many food ordered.

Pfewww, if you can pull this off, you're ready for eternal fame! AND we will burry you with compliments saying how awesome you are! It's a good idea by now to appoint a 'venue' liason officer that will take care of any logistics onsite.


Setting up Registration

Once pricing has been decided you're ready to setup registration. We've had good experiences with http://www.eventbrite.com integrated with http://paypal.com payments. The paypal account for payment needs to be linked directly to the company that does the invoicing.

We as the devopsdays organization can create the event for you and give you administrative access. This allows us to track people from the website and do email communication in the future. But you can also set it up yourself and allow us access: - so we can see the people registered - the registration details - that we can export contact details for later

Specifically on eventbrite we do:

The email or direct-contact information should never be visible on the website or given out to vendors. We value privacy and anti-spam a lot!


Ticket and pricing

It's important to us that the price to entry to a devopsdays is kept very low. We don't people left out because of the price.

Approach 1: free event Ideally we would go for free events. Experience has learnt us that 'free' events do come with a cost:

Approach 2: minimal fee Asking a minimal fee (covering about food cost for two days - range of 100USD , 100 Euro) makes us get the best of both worlds:

The downside is that this will require 'official' invoices:

Bottom line: if you want to charge a fee (which gives you better financial protection) find a friendly local company to do the invoicing and agree on a fee to compensate their 'overhead'.

To encourage people to register early it's advised to : - make an early-bird (with a discount about 10%) - - and a regular type of ticket.


Call for proposals

With the above program structure in mind, you're ready to organize the call for proposals. What really helps is to set an official conference theme on the subject you're looking.

Within the context of this theme (but other proposals can work too) we look for:

We usually have 3 conference slots/day + ignite talks. Openspace sessions are scheduled during the conference, not ahead of time (exception being the demo-openspace)

For people to respond to the call for proposals we create a specific address (proposals-yourlocation-year@devopsdays.org). Also proposals will be published on the website, this both for inspiration and commenting by others. The selection doesn't have to be finished when you announce things, it's ok to leave to space until the end. Still, we found that a finished schedule helps for attendees to convince their boss or themselves to attend or not.

If people qualify as a speaker:

Don't be surprised if proposals don't flow in fast. People usually wait a bit before sending them in and need some extra calls. It's good to have a backup plan and contact individual speakers as well.

It works best if you dedicate a person/pair to respond to proposals/speakers and handling communication. This is best for both ignite and conference talks. The program selection is done by the complete organizers (including the core-organizers) and is a shared effort.


Handling Invoicing

Part of organizing the event is the handling of the money. And handling money means official invoicing. This will be needed for:

Trust us, you don't want to handle these dull things, you'd rather focus on the content and the other stuff of the event.

The way we handle this usually is to find a local company that is willing to handle these logistics. Depending on the size of the event, you might want to give them a Silver or Gold sponsorship in return.

If a local company is not an option, we've worked with a few companies in the past that are willing to help you for a small fee in return.

If you need this, contact us to get more details.

To make invoicing smooth, it helps to reuse that company paypal account for registration (eventbrite) and to use paypal buttons generated by them for sponsor packages.


Communication Channels

If we have all the above going, we're ready to announce your event to the world and we'll setup the event on the website and mailinglist:

Mailing-lists:

Website:

Twitter:


The perfect program

After a few experiments we have settled on a two day program with the following structure:

  1. talks in the morning: this follow the more traditional format of a speaker, panel in a plenary session.
  2. There is usually an introductory talk 15m at the beginning of the conference (like state of the union)
  3. We found that regular talks of about 30minutes have the right balance for content.
  4. Panels usually take 40-60 minutes.
  5. followed by a set of ignite talks: 5 minute talks with 20 slides that auto-advance More detail on Ignite format
  6. openspaces in the afternoon: a self organizing part where everybody gets to propose a session More detail on OpenSpace Format

During the openspace sessions we usually reserve a slot for 'openspace demo': a session where people can show off their tools, product (both commercial and non-commercial)

You can usually draw on different sources to get speakers: - the call for proposals - but you might want to contact speakers directly

A few words of advice: - No sponsor should be able to buy their way into the program. The schedule should be group decided - Usually you will receive more tools talks vs cultural talks. We believe it's important to keep the balance right - Tool talks should be at the conceptual level not at the individual day-to-day level - We prefer new speakers to come on board - We prefer new content that was not presented yet (or was already recorded) - Avoid inviting external rock-stars only, we need to make sure that local content/ideas get picked up and spread to the community


Handling Insurance

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Sponsorship packages

In the past we've worked with the following sponsor packages:

We want to avoid the traditional high price model for sponsors. We believe that the more companies that sponsor, the better: it amplifies the ideas and shows that many companies subscribe to the idea. By doing this sponsors can't claim things, they are all equal.

We believe the pricing is 'peanuts' compared to the value sponsors get compared to what other conferences are charging. Also try to avoid deviations from the standard package. Exceptions take extra CPU cycles. Best to be avoided.

Other extensions might be:

As a reminder:


Finding/Handling Sponsors

Sponsors pay the bill. You rely on them. So what can you do to find them and keep them satified:

Sponsors will usually ask you the following, best to have that information ready (in a PDF mailable form).

From experience, we found that it helps to have single contact with the sponsor that tracks prospect, payment, discount codes attendees.

When they sponsor they need to supply: - a logo for on the website and printed program - a URL to link it to - a responsible email address - the invoice details (including VAT in Europe)

In return you'll :

On the registration page make them select the special sponsor ticket with their discount. Many of the sponsor contact are traveling from event to event, you'll have to sheppard them a bit so they sign up their crew in time.


Video - Streaming information


T-shirts - promo material

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Running Openspaces

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Preparing the event itself

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Running Ignites

Running Ignites can be challenge: people tend to submit them last minute, or they didn't understand the format to well. Here are few tips on making this process more smoothly:

Ignite format page


Evening event

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Setting up registration

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How to pay us back

We expect the following in return:


Publishing Talks videos and presentations

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