Day Camp 4 Developers #3: Project Management

I recently attend the on-line conference “Day Camp 4 Developers #3: Project Management” (http://daycamp4developers.com/)

The Day Camp 4 Developer conferences are focused on improving the peripheral skills of developers. While we are constantly focused on developing our core coding skills, there are lots of other aspects of the profession that often get neglected, and these are what the Day Camp crew aim to focus on.

This conference was focused on project management, and while I am not an Account/Project manager at Milton Bayer, I am involved (to various degrees) in the quoting, scheduling and planning of almost every digital project that comes through the studio, so I figured this would be an excellent opportunity to round out my knowledge-set some more.

The Talks

The talks for the conference were:

  • Brian Prince: Hands on Agile Practices
  • Thursday Bram: How Freelancers Can Use Project Management to Make Clients Happier than They’ve Ever Been Before
  • Rob Allen: Getting a website out of the door
  • Keith Casey: Project Management is more than Todo Lists
  • Elizabeth Naramore: Dealing with Difficult People
  • Paul M. Jones: Estimating and Expectations

Impressions

The ‘entry’ fee was around £30, and as the main audience was american it ran from 15:00 to 22:30 GMT. The talks were informative and covered a range of topics including Development practices and methodologies, keeping clients happy and involed in the development process, planning and scheduling, risk management, and how to anticipate and manage client expectations as the project develops.

The Setup

The conference was entirely online and hosted by Fuze Meeting (http://www.fuzemeeting.com/), which provides a real-time slideshow and if installed as a desktop application also provides audio. For those having audio problems or didn’t want to install the desktop app, they provide a dial-in system where to can get the audio through a telephone line or through Skype. I was listening using Skype and had no problems. The presentations are already available to attendees as unedited streams, and downloadable edited videos are promised within the next week.

They also had an IRC chatroom setup where the conference attendees could chat amongst themselves during and between talks. Cal Evans, the event organiser was present in the chatroom and was fielding questions to the speakers and helping out attendees with technical issues.

Technical Issues

There was only one technical hitch, where they started the (timed) meeting room an hour early to get setup causing the meeting to end an hour before they were finished. Everyone was disconnected and a new meeting room was created for the final presentation. This was their first time using Fuze Meeting, so I am sure they have learnt their lesson for next time.

Final Thoughts

Overall I thought it was well worth the money, as with any conference there is a certain amount of information you already know, a certain amount that is not relevant to you, and a certain amount of thought provoking information. I came away from it with some good ideas on improvements that could be worked into our existing processes that will ultimately improve the service we provide to our customers.

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