MediaWiki Developer Summit 2015/Lessons learned

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This page is a combination of feedback from a survey sent to participants and ideas from the organizers.

It focuses on improvements for next time and things that went poorly. However remember that 95% of the people that responded to the feedback survey were either "Satisfied" or "Very Satisfied" with the event as a whole.

Suggested changes for the next Developer Summit

  • We should do a three day event instead of a two day event. Two days will be similar to this year, one day will be hacking and networking.
  • Start using Phabricator earlier in the planning phase
  • Create templates for etherpads/Phabricator for all sessions
  • Organize keynotes further in advance
  • Presenters of smaller sessions should spend less time on introductions and jump into the needed discussions; introductory materials should be posted in advance.
  • Better food
  • Encourage people to walk/share taxis

Background on feedback survey[edit]

  • rfarrand created the feedback survey form after the MediaWiki Developer Summit.
  • The feedback form opened on Feb 11, 2015
  • WMDS participants received two emails requesting feedback.
  • The deadline for feedback was March 2, 2015.
  • 64/155 participants filled out the feedback survey

Considerations for next year[edit]

This section is based on the fill-in-the-blank/comment sections of the feedback form. Some of these comments will be contradictory. We are mostly trying to include common themes and issues that were felt by groups of people. This section is a bit more subjective than the #Data section below.

Schedule[edit]

  • The sessions were too technical for people who are not engineers or not relevant for to everyone's jobs
  • Interesting sessions were scheduled over each other and some people wanted to be in multiple places at once/missed out on discussions that they wanted to take part in
  • 45 min was too short for some of the sessions
  • We crammed too much content in to two days
  • It would have been nice to have hacking/work time alongside the event
  • Post daily schedules for each individual room on the door of that room alongside the master schedule.

Use of mediawiki.org, Etherpad, and Phabricator[edit]

Mostly positive response to the use of all three tools simultaneously

mediawiki.org[edit]

Not too much comment on using the wiki except that people agree that it is a good tool for keeping the overall schedule and an overview of the event as a whole. A few people did not realize we were using it at all, a few people think we should have used it more.

Etherpads[edit]

There was almost unanimous positivity about the use of etherpads at the WMDS. Only two comments about them being distracting/trolling. The biggest issue was that it crashed when we tried to get everyone using the same etherpad during a large session. There should have been more etherpad preparation by speakers before the sessions.

Phabricator[edit]

The use of Phabricator was more polarizing. In about half of the comments about Phabricator (not total number of comments about the tech we used), people felt that its use was "awkward," "forced," "messy," or "confusing." It helped with the planning phase, but many people agree that the planning phase should have started much earlier than it did. Using Phabricator to create tasks with next step action items during discussions was appreciated.

Other thoughts[edit]

  • People did not sign up on the wiki for the talks that they ended up attending. Speakers would like a better headcount expectation.
  • Too many places with data about each session, there should be one consistent place for session overviews.
  • Session introductions should be posted before the sessions, the sessions should not waste time reintroducing the topic.
  • Phabricator tasks and Etherpads for each session should all use the same template so they are easy to read.

Logistics[edit]

There were many positive-only comments, we are only including the constructive feedback. None of the points below were mentioned by more than a few people:

  • Encourage more people to walk, get fewer buses
  • Provide private buses for transport in the morning.
  • The venue was too far away from the office and hotel
  • Social events should encourage more mingling, not just stuck next to 1 or 2 people.
  • Don’t start as early in the morning
  • More mic runners in the main sessions

Food/Meals[edit]

  • More (healthy) options for breakfast
  • Don’t physically separate the vegetarians at dinner
  • Don’t use Buca di Beppo again
  • Different lunch options, buffet would be better

Transportation[edit]

  • Encourage more walking and cab sharing to the venue. Maybe have a wiki page to organize morning taxi groups.
  • Four people did not like how far the venue was from the hotel.
  • Do not expect everyone from the event to take the bus on the way home, we had empty buses each day because a large percentage of people made other arrangements.

Other[edit]

  • A fire alarm went off during the event and everyone needed to evacuate. This was annoying and disruptive to participants.
  • Let's start planning for this event even earlier next year
  • Three-day event, two days is not enough

Data[edit]

How satisfied were you with the schedule in general?[edit]

Very satisified 19 30%
Satisfied 40 63%
Neither satisfied or dissatisfied 5 8%
Dissatisfied 0 0%
Very Dissatisfied 0 0%

How satisfied were you with the keynote sessions in general?[edit]

Very satisified 15 23%
Satisfied 41 64%
Neither satisfied or dissatisfied 8 13%
Very dissatisfied 0 0%
Dissatisfied 0 0%

How satisfied were you with the other sessions in general?[edit]

Very satisified 16 25%
Satisfied 42 66%
Neither satisfied or dissatisfied 5 8%
Dissatisfied 1 2%
Very Dissatisfied 0 0%

Logistics questions[edit]

This event overall [Ratings of the Summit logistics][edit]

Very Satisfied 28 44%
Satisfied 33 52%
Neither dissatisfied or satisfied 3 5%
Dissatisfied 0 0%
Very Dissatisfied 0 0%
N/A 0 0%

Overall organization of the summit [Ratings of the Summit logistics][edit]

Very Satisfied 44 69%
Satisfied 18 28%
Neither dissatisfied or satisfied 1 2%
Dissatisfied 1 2%
Very Dissatisfied 0 0%
N/A 0 0%

Organized social activities [Ratings of the Summit logistics][edit]

Very Satisfied 21 33%
Satisfied 29 45%
Neither dissatisfied or satisfied 10 16%
Dissatisfied 1 2%
Very Dissatisfied 0 0%
N/A 3 5%

Availability of extra room for informal discussions  [Ratings of the Summit logistics][edit]

Very Satisfied 14 22%
Satisfied 26 41%
Neither dissatisfied or satisfied 17 27%
Dissatisfied 4 6%
Very Dissatisfied 0 0%
N/A 3 5%

Breakfast [How would you rate:][edit]

Excellent 9 14%
Good 30 47%
Fair 17 27%
Poor 6 9%
Very bad 1 2%
N/A or didn't attend 1 2%

Lunches [How would you rate:][edit]

Excellent 9 14%
Good 26 41%
Fair 19 30%
Poor 8 13%
Very bad 2 3%
N/A or didn't attend 0 0%

Snacks [How would you rate:][edit]

Excellent 10 16%
Good 35 55%
Fair 18 28%
Poor 0 0%
Very bad 1 2%
N/A or didn't attend 0 0%

Monday's dinner [How would you rate:][edit]

Excellent 16 25%
Good 23 36%
Fair 16 25%
Poor 3 5%
Very bad 1 2%
N/A or didn't attend 5 8%

Tuesday's dinner [How would you rate:][edit]

Excellent 15 23%
Good 23 36%
Fair 14 22%
Poor 6 9%
Very bad 0 0%
N/A or didn't attend 6 9%

Wifi quality [How would you rate:][edit]

Excellent 34 53%
Good 26 41%
Fair 3 5%
Poor 0 0%
Very bad 0 0%
N/A or didn't attend 1 2%

Meeting room equipment  [How would you rate:][edit]

Excellent 24 38%
Good 36 56%
Fair 2 3%
Poor 1 2%
Very bad 0 0%
N/A or didn't attend 1 2%

Attending this event was worth my time [Please tell us how much you agree or disagree with the following statements.][edit]

Strongly Agree 38 59%
Agree 23 36%
Neither agree or disagree 2 3%
Disagree 0 0%
Strongly Disagree 1 2%

The opportunity to meet fellow developers was valuable to me [Please tell us how much you agree or disagree with the following statements.][edit]

Strongly Agree 47 73%
Agree 13 20%
Neither agree or disagree 3 5%
Disagree 0 0%
Strongly Disagree 1 2%

I would like to attend this event again next year. [Please tell us how much you agree or disagree with the following statements.][edit]

Strongly Agree 46 72%
Agree 13 20%
Neither agree or disagree 4 6%
Disagree 0 0%
Strongly Disagree 1 2%