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It’s more than a passing FAD — the bad

Continuing the thought output from the first North American Fedora Activity Day (FAD) at SCaLE 7x, this post details the mistakes that we made and so should be learning from.

  • Yes, the turn out was good and I said it is stronger than I realized, but … where are my West Coast homies?   I tend to be cynical here, so please pardon if I am offensive to any West Coast Fedorans … but either there aren’t as many of us, or you are a very quiet, homebody bunch.  (Of course, I know we’re just starting the New North American Ambassadors and I need to give Cali a chance.  I know this.  I do.  It is hard to be patient.)
  • I think I set too high of an expectation around the User Guide, and then I didn’t deliver that.  I forget that in the mix of setting aggressive goals they also have to be obtainable.  Meaning, make them aggressive within the realm of possible.
  • Didn’t test my tools before the day, so I lost at least an hour and bottlenecked on people trying to get it working.  I may have had it all solved if I’d tested some days before.
  • We didn’t have roles defined, so we ended up all trying to fill them.  Rather than making individual progress at varying degrees, we ended up making very little progress in the activities while we all responded to the ringing doorbells, wiring needs, hiding food, etc. We clearly need one person responding to whoever walks in the door, routing them in the right direction.  Each activity needs a clear leader who is not distracted with all the other happenings and needs.  The overall activity day needs someone who can troubleshoot and do whatever it takes to keep things smooth, from passing out food to arranging network fixes.  This facilitator can also track the tasks from a meta-level.
  • Schedule wasn’t written on the wall in plain site, nor were the specific tasks.  We also didn’t have complete task tables on the wiki ready to go (when the network was available …)
  • Long, large gauge wire extension cords and power strips weigh a bunch so don’t fit a light-weight Ambassador Event Box, but boy do we need them.  Maybe we can just have each Ambassador have a mini-kit that includes them, then several of us bring it locally.  That did happen, but not until after we’d had the hotel drop in an expensive loaner.
  • It was a bad idea to try to work VoIP at a conference … without proper hardware … and no hard network drop … using the conference wireless.  In fact, that was just a FAIL.  (We did talk on the channel, but used Jon Stanley’s cell phone for most of it.  When we did get a mic hooked up, I realized it wouldn’t play the audio back because that would normally be the undesired state (to hear yourself talking in our own ear.))  The VoIP attempts were quite distracting, although it was nice to have some chats with folks once we got things working.  It may have been more useful for people at remote … if all they wanted was to hear me talk, since we couldn’t get the room included.

That is the list that Clint and I wrote up.  Let us know if you think of any other bad parts, we’ll be making some sort of a wiki page of procedures form this.  If I think of any more, I’ll do a redux post.