[Linux-aus] LCA2014 update update - what can we do to reduce workload?

James Polley jamezpolley at gmail.com
Sat Sep 1 11:49:46 EST 2012

*So far in this thread, one of the strongest themes has been the workload
placed on teams who’ve won a bid. It’s been mentioned both by past LCA
organisers (mostly in the context of “But it was worth it, you should
totally give up a year of your life!”) and by people who didn’t put in bids
(in the context of “We couldn’t find enough local people who could
guarantee enough time - so we couldn’t put together a realistic bid”).

There have been a few solutions discussed as well. Primarily this
discussion has centered on what parts of the LCA format can be scrapped -
for instance, discussion about dropping or scaling back the miniconfs, or
the PDNS.

However, there’s also been a few hints about a different strategy for
reducing the bid team’s workload - rather than ditching parts of the
conference, find ways to offload the work. For instance, Chris N. alluded
to this when he mentioned that part of what enabled the Pycon team to be so
small was that they found a venue who were able to handle big chunks of
work - catering, venue setup and teardown, wifi, and so on.

Others have mentioned the Papers Committee - a group which convenes each
year and undertakes the task of sorting through hundreds of submitted
presentation ideas and making thousands of ranking decisions in order to
put together the bulk of the conference program.

Behind the scenes, the LA council (thanks to a bunch of legwork from Josh
Hesketh) has recently put in place another time-saver for the bid teams. In
the past, it’s been up to the LCA team to organise travel for all of those
speakers - not an easy task when you’re talking about flying in around 100
speakers from all parts of the world. In practice, this has often meant
that the LCA organisers rely on speakers planning and paying for their own
travel and then requesting a reimbursement - but even then, the organisers
have to manage and account for 100 separate payments to 100 separate
accounts spread all around the world. LA now has a relationship with a
travel agent who is able to do all of this work and then send LA a single
invoice at the end - the LCA teams now just need to put the speakers in
touch with the travel agent and they’re done.

I’d love to hear more ideas about things like this that would lighten the
workload of LCA organisers - either by distributing the burden out to the
broader community, or by sacrificing a bit of profit in exchange for a lot
of work. *
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