This is my third year working on this conference and in a good way our jobs were made more difficult by the sheer volume of abstracts received. I give my personal thanks to all who submitted and if not selected please keep those abstracts in mind for ASUG webcasts.
Now, on to the weekend.
First, a few of us met on Friday to begin working on the conference. Work had already started when the submissions were closed back in December. Back in December we spent time reclassifying abstracts that were in the wrong category. Some volunteers began reviewing the abstracts and ranking them.
As Jim stated, many of us end up using spreadsheets to program. This year, for the first time, I was able to use an SAP tool to help with the reporting – Visual Intelligence also known as “Visi”.
I decided to use Visi as the ASUG Abstract Tool gives us a download of submissions, but doesn’t necessarily list the actual speaker or co-presenter – it lists only the submitter (this was a mistake I made last year). To get the speakers you have to do a separate download to Excel that lists the speakers, and there is a row for each speaker, but this report doesn’t contain the necessary abstract information. I hope to write up the exact steps one day to share how I did this with Visual Intelligence.
If your track size is small, you could use the tool to look at every submission, but if your track is like BITI’s you have hundreds to review and reviewing them one by one in the tool is simply not possible. So today we all resort to spreadsheets so Program Chairs can review and rank their submissions. Additionally we are all assigned SAP Points of Contact who also need to review the hundreds of submissions and the best way is via a spreadsheet.
Once you made your initial selections (if you are in a large community, this happens before the weekend), you start scheduling them in a grid. We used the spreadsheet template provided by ASUG Headquarters, but we also used grids similar to BITI’s below as people like to see the schedule on a big picture.
Photo by Jim Spath
On Saturday, it was a “move the post-it note” exercise in terms of scheduling. Other SAP points of contacts came by the rooms to see what had been selected. Other track owners came by to review what we had selected. Other volunteers stopped in to see how the planning process works.
Communities with smaller amounts of abstracts were able to review them on-site at the volunteer meeting and make their selections. One group who was missing a volunteer used FaceTime so the volunteer could participate remotely.
Once that settled down, teams met to discuss webcasts; we have been using SAP StreamWork to request SAP webcasts to our SAP points of contact. We also discussed better ways to present ASUG Influence sessions at ASUG Annual Conference
There was time for fun too, getting to see and chat with ASUG Board Member Chris Crone, and getting to know new ASUG Volunteers such as Noel Hollis below
Noel told me she has been involved with ASUG since college when she attended Chapter meetings. Follow Noel on Twitter @DatabaseFairy
Overall it is amazing that so many people spent their weekends on ASUG.
Left is Karin Tillotson, middle Peter McNulty and on the right Jim Spath
On the left is a great SAP Point of Contact to ASUG Ina Felsheim and on the right is ASUG Volunteer Bob Berntsen
Last but not least, another great SAP Point of Contact to ASUG