For the past five years I’ve had the opportunity of running and being part of hundreds of tech events. Everything from workshops and meetups to training courses and large scale conferences. This is what I learned from it and my advice to anyone trying to find their feet in the industry.
In the beginning I was thrown in at the deep end and, I have to be honest, at times it has been tough but I wouldn't change a thing. It has been a great journey full of steep learning curves and enjoyable experiences. I was never fully alone in my learning so always remember:
1. Teamwork - your team is your most valuable asset
In events, you succeed or fail as a team. Running events is never a one person job as it’s all about teamwork. Take the time to get to know everyone around you, understand their strengths and weaknesses, ask for feedback and always look for ways to improve the way you work together. Learn how and when to delegate and make the best use of all the resources available.
2. Communication, communication, communication...
Good communication is the key to running a successful event. From dealing with your internal team to dealing with external speakers, sponsors and suppliers. Always make sure everyone is on the same page. Be clear and explain thoroughly keeping in mind that people have different backgrounds. Just because it makes sense to you it doesn’t necessarily mean it makes sense to everyone.
3. Listen to your community and become part of it.
Running tech community events and being part of creating and growing a tech community is a very exciting experience. Developer or not, once you feel part of the community you will be able to better understand the synergy and the needs of the group. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because your community is the best source of information.
4. Things always go wrong, don’t panic there is always a solution!
It doesn’t matter how much you plan inevitably something will always go wrong! You need to be prepared to think outside the box and come up with solutions on your feet. Remember that problem solving can be fun. However in order to do so, be organised, plan ahead and make sure you give yourself enough time prior to the event to deal with all the last minute bugs.
5. Agile is not only a buzzword
We are living in a fast paced world where things are constantly changing so you must be prepared to adapt. The fact that things have always been done in a certain way is not a reason to carry on the same path. Try to understand the reasoning behind it and always look for ways of improving and optimising the process. Change is good. In addition, after an event always take the time to discuss what went well and what could be done better. Feedback and constructive criticism are essential factors in helping to ensure improved future events!
Running events can be great fun. For me, it’s like building with lego where you’ve have all these distinct pieces and you need to make them fit together. On top of that, the tech community is a very friendly and welcoming environment. You always get the chance to learn something new so don’t forget to make the most out of it and enjoy yourself.