Thursday, 9 December 2010

Confessions of the User Group (dis)Organiser

Yesterday was the first Southampton SQL Server User Group and I just wanted to share some of my thoughts on how to arrange a successful one...

1) DON'T RUSH - Whatever you do, don't sit at work one day and think; I know, I'll start a UG, then pick the phone up and book a venue. Take your time, have a couple of months lead-up. This gives you time to organise and think of EVERYTHING.

2) DON'T LOOK AT A PICTURE OF THE VENUE AND THINK; THAT ROOM LOOKS OKAY - Visit the room. The size and shape of a small room can dictate the kind of UG that you can have. Is there going to be enough room to get a decent projection onto a wall or white-board? Can you move the chairs around and not affect the function of the room (blocking-off an area of the room)?

3) DON'T PUT DIRECTIONS TO VENUE UP THE DAY BEFORE THE EVENT - Put up directions or special instructions on the internet well in advance.

4) BRING A 4-WAY - Who knows where the power points are? There is a good chance there will not be power where you need power.

5) BELIEVE IN MURPHYS' LAW - If you can bring spare kit, just in case something goes wrong, then do it. What's the worst that can happen? You don't use it.

6) ORGANISE THE FOOD IN ADVANCE - As Murphy's Law states; what can go wrong will go wrong... Including my phone stopping working and managing to block my debit card when ordering food in a rush.

7) DON'T EXPECT PEOPLE THAT SAID THEY WOULD DEFINITELY TURN UP TO TURN UP - Random stuff happens; people say they can come, but life gets in the way. Always expect less people to turn up. Perhaps even 1/3 to 1/2 less.

And even if you don't manage to follow all these steps, it is still possible to have a really successful UG!

For the next UG, I have promised myself that I won't make the same mistakes again. I'll make a whole load of new ones!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Parking to Southampton SQL Server User Group [Updated]

For those coming tomorrow, I'd thought I would just post up some details on where to park.
If you are driving towards Southampton down the Avenue, turn left onto Alma Road, then the next left. It should take you directly under my arrow.