How big should your team be?
Some of the following roles can be held by the same person, but usually a team of at least three local people and two people from the WMF team is needed.
Having a good team with different roles and responsibilities is crucial to organize any kind of event. Make sure you have a diverse team with different skills.
Roles in the organizer team
- Project lead from hosting chapter/organization
- Project lead from WMF
- Logistics (venue/accommodation)
- Scholarships (Co-owned by WMF and local group)
- Registration management
- Visa support
- Travel support
- Outreach/fundraising/engage local communities
As an example, the Wikimedia Hackathon 2017 in Vienna with around 270 participants was organized by a team of four people working full time in the months leading up to the event, plus a team of three people from the WMF and more dedicated volunteers during the event.
One person should ultimately be in charge of the success of the event and delegate tasks. Otherwise, many of these roles can be split between people or one person can take multiple roles.
- Budget management
- works with Comptroller who handles accounting (office)
- Provide timeline and make sure it is respected
- Tracks progress of all groups
- Human resources management (define and enforce roles, who does what, who does not do what)
- Final cut
- Plan for staffing needs; support for each other group
- Identifie & screen staff & related timelines
- Fill in any gaps
Program manager (Generally this will be someone from WMF)
- Head the program committee
- Program timetable
- Coordinate with communications on releases
- Coordinate with Tech & Logistics on room/hall needs
This is a fun task to be split among the team.
- Plan the social events
- How can we make this event more fun, silly, memorable?
- How can we help the different types of people at this event succeed?
- Define tech team needs with Logistics & Program coordinators
- Makes sure that the Wifi works
- A/V - streaming
- Community announcements
- Website delegations & updates
- Write press releases and put together press materials
- Deals with press inquiries and assignments
- Put together sponsoring materials and find sponsors
- Ensure communication with sponsors
- Follow up during and after the event
- Manage registration
- Manage questions/issues/problems, off and on-site.
- Visa letters and support
- Work with scholarship committee
- Manage attendees scholarships
- Work with applicants to manage expectations & schedules
Emergency response team/coordinator (this will be handled by those on the Code of Conduct Committee)
Venue logistics coordinator
- Catering: Food, drinks and snacks
- Accommodation, assigning rooms to participants
Each event will probably have a team of volunteers helping participants find what they need.
- Have a meeting in advance with all event volunteers
- Daily meet-up (what went wrong what could be better)
- Facebook or Telegram group for volunteers to communicate issues easily
- Find a special way to thank volunteers
- Make the volunteers easily identifiable via custom colored name badges, lanyards, or t-shirts (however this option creates daily laundry problems)
When Partnering with the WMF Technical Collaboration Team
This is specific information for groups who want to host and plan either the Wikimedia Hackathon or the Wikimania Hackathon in partnership with WMF
- We generally use Phabricator as a task tracking tool, if you are unfamiliar with this tool we can provide training.
- Planning in English. English is generally the official language of these events as they are international engineering events. We also generally hold our pre-event planning meetings and all spreadsheets, registration information and notes in English. There should be no problem to include track for local engineers in the local language if different than English.
- Translation tools allow email communication between organizers speaking different languages - so the entire local organizing team does not need to be fluent.
- Many attendee emails will come in and be answered in the local language.
- Using google docs, Qualtrics, or EventBrite for participant tracking and registration. We are open to other options as well, however have run into problems using harder-to-use and collaborate on non-proprietary software.
- The WMF Events Team is here to back you up whenever you run into a problem or need help, please don't hesitate to ask. It is likely that we have faced that issue before and have ideas for a solution.
- The Events Team will work with you to manage hotel and hostel reservations for WMF staff attending the event. It is part of our travel policy that WMF staff are not required to share rooms although many of them are willing to do so. Because of this we need access to single rooms. Usually the easiest way to manage rooms for WMF staff is to reserve a block of rooms (both singles, and shared) and your contact at WMF can fill in the names of traveling WMF developers. Often we need to add a few last minute travelers (new hires, etc.), so if possible holding a some empty rooms for that would be helpful as well.
- Generally the WMF Events Team drives the schedule, content and agenda of the event while the hosting group drives the logistics. The local team is welcome to organize a track for issues of interest local developers in the local language.
- Registration: The local organizing team and WMF should agree on the content of the registration form. In the past we have used google forms or eventbrite successfully for registration. We have past registration forms available to copy/reuse but there will likely be a few changes each year. We open registration for this event on the wikitech-l mailing list, but can forward it anywhere else as needed. There should be a predetermined opening date for registration, a deadline for scholarships (published) and a closing date for registration. The local team and the WMF team may want to hold a few extra spots to add any last minute participants that they want to add to the the event.
- Scholarships: First we form a team and gather funds. Everyone who contributed funds will have the opportunity to vote for or against scholarship recipients. The local team does visa support for scholarship recipients. WMF may be able to help with flights and hotel booking.
- The roles and responsibilities of WMF vrs. the local team are flexible. We can come up with a plan that works well for everybody when we begin working together.
- WMF staff can help take on any roles if your team needs extra support. Just ask!
Lessons from WMFR Organizer:
- Biweekly hangout meetings starting 3-4 months with WMF before the conference (always in the evening at 6 pm CET)
- Weekly hangouts during ramp-up to the conference (about 1 month prior)
- Mainly contact with Rachel
- Use phabricator as project planning tool