Sunday 20 July 2008

UKOUG Special Events

This week the UKOUG had a special event - Archive and Purge These are meetings that fall outside of the standard Special Interest Groups (SIGS) and I thought it would be interesting to explain how a special event comes to happen.

After each user group meeting members are asked what else they would like to be covered, volunteers are also asked at their meetings and then at each board meeting (there are 6 a year) the directors talk about ideas that have been put forward and determine if they meet the current strategy. If they do a director must sponsor the idea and it goes onto the ideas stack. I was sponsor for Archive and Purge.

The ideas stack is reviewed at each board meeting and one or two are moved into the next stage, here the office do some market research to see that there is a big enough audience and sufficient sponsors to make the day a success both in terms of value to the members and economically.

Then the agenda needs to be drawn up, hopefully there is an obvious volunteer to help, and in this case Anthony Ross from the Projects SIG offered to help. It was decided early on to have two streams, one functional / business focused and the other technical. It was difficult to pull together an agenda and fellow director David Kurtz and myself had to work with Karen Smith in the office to create an agenda we thought would be of value to the audience. Only then does an ‘idea’ go into production. Anthony was also involved in the Process SIG for Acquire to Retire and so we co-located the two events in London.

I wanted the Archive and Purge Day to start with discussions about why people archive, what they have tried and what worked or didn’t? Normally discussions come later in the day but I wanted them up front so that the audience could see who was similar to them so they could speak to them in the breaks. It also gives presenters the opportunity to ensure their presentations cover what people are after. Unfortunately Anthony could not make it on the day, very frustrating but volunteers do have day jobs, and I want to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to Raj Patel Deputy Chair of the Application Server and Middleware SIG who stepped in at the last minute and facilitated the technical stream whilst I looked after the functional side. The discussions were very interesting and backed up the theory that there is no simple answer. There were presentations from sponsors who have tools that deal with the requirement in different ways and from organisations that have actually been through archiving.

We had about 120 delegates and I haven’t seen the official feedback but from what I heard from delegates they all found the day very helpful.

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