Saturday, April 7, 2012

Congress - PMI

PMI (Plus, Minus,Interesting) is a simple tool I use when evaluating events, places, decisions.

I have already talked at length about the Keynotes at Congress which I found disappointing. My general feelings about the event, however, were positive. Following is the result of a personal brainstorm, organised under the headings Plus, Minus and Interesting, that I have conducted over the past few days .

* Comfortable purpose built conference facility with easy access to accommodation, transport and city centre.
* Smooth registration process
* The affable volunteers on the registration/enquiries desk
* The bright vests on the organisers/volunteers made them easy to identify
* The period costumes worn by South Australians at the Welcome Reception
* Meals served in Exhibition Area so attendees could browse and Sponsors and Exhibitors could have good exposure
* Opportunities to network with fellow genealogists, meet old friends and make new ones
* A chairperson was assigned to each session to introduce and thank speakers
* Most sessions were conducted on one level of the complex so there were few stairs to climb
* Movement of people from one room to another was smoothly accomplished
* The method of table allocation for the dinner was equitable and well organised
* The coffee machines at morning and afternoon teas were appreciated by many
* The size font used on name tags was easy to read
* The colour coded system of bars and dots for distinguishing types of attendee was simple and effective
* I was pleased to be able to register for the dinner at the Congress
* The organising published a Social Media Policy in the program
* The tweets sent during the sessions added an extra dimension and were a valuable resource to inform us of what was happening in concurrent sessions. Reading through the full list of tweets is an interesting exercise
* There were plenty of power outlets around the venue so attendees could charge their mobile devices
* Morning and afternoon tea and lunchtimes were of a suitable length to allow all to be fed and watered in comfort

* Catering at Welcome Reception was very poor
* Conference attendees were not advised of the free wifi connection available at the venue
* Lack of seating in meals area
* There has been no evaluation instrument distributed to atteendees so far
* That the conference proceedings were only available in hard copy and were not distributed until the close of the conference. Many attendees wanted to use the proceedings to annotate with their own notes.
* The large font used in the proceedings caused it to be many pages long and the weight of a brick
* Two papers were missing from the proceedings
* There were only a few sessions dealing with technology and genealogy and those few offered were at a very basic level
* The exhibitors package did not include catering for a least two persons per stand
* Conference website was difficult to navigate - finding the daily timetable and the past issues of newsletters was challenging
* If the lanyards would have been adjustable some vertically challenged attendees may not have been wearing their names down near their waists
* The program lacked descriptions of the sessions - 50 word descriptions would have assisted with session choice (especially when we had no proceedings for reference)

* The choice of an amateur square dancing group as entertainment at the Congress Dinner
* That Jan Gow appeared to be the only speaker from New Zealand at an Australasian Conference
* There appeared to be a lot of sessions devoted to Familysearch
* Heraldry did not appear to be well covered in the program
* That the call for papers closed so far in advance of the conference
* The overly trendy sandwich fillings at lunch - by day 4 I was hankering for vegemite or peanut butter
* That presenters' powerpoint presentations have not been made available
* As well as name of attendee - a place of residence would have enhanced the name tags
* Most sessions were 60 minutes in length. There were no poster sessions and few (or was it one) longer  in depth sessions
* There were no 'unconferencing' sessions
* If there was a noticeboard for attendees to use it was not publicised

What would you add to this list?


Kylie Willison said...

Hi Jill
Wow I didn't know about the wifi. As I missed day one I would've liked a short announcements segment at the start of each day about where things were and what was available to attendees. It was only by chance on day three that I found the lunch for people with special dietary requirements. I still brought my lunch because the selection was poor.

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

Jill I think your comments will be very helpful to the Congress organisers for Canberra -I hope they're listening. Congress organising is no walk in the park and there's so much to consider and plan. Your comments made a lot of sense to me, but I wonder if your expectations were too high after Roots Tech and all the money splashed around there. Agreed that I don't think Adelaide did a great job of getting their message out and I felt that some of the talks we had here before hand were still US-centric. Other than that I can't comment as I wasn't there. I certainly didn't feel that Adelaide's information was transparent. Love your euphemistic "interesting".

Infolass said...

I think that there was an over emphasis on FamilySearch. I suspect that the speakers made themselves available for free.


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