Esri introduced a new 20 minute techical workshop format at the 2011 Int'l UC.
Great idea: it's tough for one person to attend all TWs of interest without a clone (I blogged about this here: http://spatialdba.com/?p=38).
Poor execution (logistics):
- The Convention Center is huge. Takes too long to get from room A to room B.
- After the intro (who am I/you and why are you/I here), pre-summary (Say What You're Going to Cover), post-summary (Review What You Covered) and Q&A,
this leaves little time for core content. Too much overhead cost.
- Wastes precious UC attendee time by being off cycle from the 75 minute TWs
Some alternative options to meet the same business need (more content opportunities):
- Extend the sessions from 20 minutes to to 30. Gives 10 more mins of core content (the chief function of a TW, right?)
- Roll the sessions into the Exhibition Hall with other Demo Theater presentations. Sequence them with other events by track in a manner that lessens the chance an attendee will have to make tough choices (presentation A or B when both are extremely interesting).
- Eliminate 20 min sessions and slim the standard TWs (75 mins + 30 mins between sessions).
You may be able to squeeze in one more full TW per day. On the other hand, it's nice for presenters to have the extra time to answer more questions post-session. And for attendees not to have to rush to the next session (often a long walk). Split the difference of total session time + between sessions?
- Eliminate 20 min sessions ans combine track-specific ones into single 75 min TWs. Reduces overhead.
- Add more lightning rounds? Short but sweet. As the saying goes, "Be brief. Be brilliant. Be gone."
It's all about optimization. I haven't looked at scheduling and sequencing for other event types. Only TWs.
Thanks to whoever invented the new sessions. Whoever set the schedule chose some great topics. It's clear you care about and value the attendee's experience. But the durations and sequencing create avoidable conflicts.
This concept needs a few more iterations to get it right.
Conference attendance remains a great value. Thanks for experimenting with ways to make it even better.
GIS for DBAs. Database Concepts for GIS.