Nobody notices the effort that is put into scheduling so many ConFoo talks. Everyone notices that the conference runs smoothly, is a lot of fun to attend and everyone learns heaps. That is certainly no accident. Let me give you a peek into the scheduling process. Use this timetable as a reference when you read the rest of the article.
- We try to have a balanced number of talks from each track on any given day, so that there isn’t a day with too little Ruby.
- We try to have one French talk every hour, but not two, since only 85% of our audience speaks French. We wouldn’t want to reduce options for those who don’t speak French.
- Having a speaker give two talks close to each other is not desirable, unless specifically requested. Since every audience has different expectations, it allows speakers to incorporate feedback into the next talk. Also, speaking is a lot more effort than it seems. Speakers need to recharge their batteries.
- We make sure that someone who has a very long flight gets enough rest before speaking. Coming from Australia or New Zealand, for example, causes quite a jet lag. We will never schedule these people on Wednesday morning.
- Some talks help you understand other talks, so they have to be scheduled in a certain order. For example, an intro to responsive design goes before the talks that cover the specific tools.
Once you start moving stuff around, all constraints have to be reviewed. It’s a ton of fine-tuning, but well worth it.