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

Joshua Hesketh josh at nitrotech.org
Sat Sep 1 14:02:37 EST 2012

I'd also like to add there are a lot more things that the LA council 
(and community) are  trying to do to help lighten the workload. Some of 
these have been executed successfully and some need more people in the 
community to help.

For example, the admin team has long been running LA's servers and I'm 
sure would be more than happy to help run email/web/other servers for 
any LCA team.

zookeepr, the conference management software, has rough edges but is a 
solved problem. There is no need for an LCA team to do any hacking as 
there is a large group of developers who can help set up and maintain an 
instance for your conference (at the very least - hopefully they'll even 
add feature requests within reason)..

We have also been trying to get sponsorship and media subcommittees off 
the ground. We've made some progress on these but they both need a 
little more work (help welcome). With a few extra hands I'm sure we can 
get the sponsorship subcommittee to a point where they can handle 
arranging ongoing sponsorship deals, finding sponsors, following up, 
negotiating and so on. The media team is also able to help publish press 
releases and so on for the conferences.

There are people involved in video and networking who know how to do it 
for LCA (and do it really well) and would be more than happy to provide 
advise if not assistance.

We also have a wiki with documentation on how to run conferences with a 
lot of information specific to LCA: http://wiki.linux.org.au/ 
.Additionally the ghosts meeting helps transfer a lot of this knowledge 
and I'm sure most ghosts would be able to help with other certain things 
and resources. For example, if you need template announcements/PR's, 
mail-merge techniques and so on I'm sure ghosts would be able to step up 
and help with that (and add it to the wiki).

Basically the council and the community have a lot of infrastructure and 
assistance in place to help a bidding team focus on running a 
conference. More importantly there are people within the community who 
are invested in making the conference happen and making it great who 
would be more than willing to help out. I think any serious bid can take 
all of this into considering allowing the local team to worry about what 
is left.

Run the conference smarter, not bigger.


On 01/09/12 11:49, James Polley wrote:
> *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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