This is a wiki page to gather lessons learned and best practices on running a working group event around an Ethereum topic. Please do add / edit, especially in areas marked as TO DO, especially links to external resources or other recaps from similar events. Please do not use this as a place to announce events
What is a Working Group Event?
A Working Group Event is an in person meeting to gather together interested parties and knowledgeable people around a particular topic. The goal is to get a small number of people who are “doing the work” together to discuss shared issues in person, share insights, and move forward.
A Working Group is not:
- a small conference
- a completely open event
- a place for marketing
Once you have commitment that the event is going to happen (venue booked, several people have committed to coming) post on this forum to announce. Include the process for attending (e.g. fill out this form, tell us what you want to learn, tell us what you have to share, etc.).
Typically a working group is 20 - 60 people. It’s a small group working on a single problem or topic, or at least ones that are very closely related. Everyone is someone who “does the work” and is an active participant.
Annoyed that you can’t attend? No problem! Organize your own Working Group, recruit some participants, and do it in your local area.
Location / Venue
There are many places that you can book private meetings at, including hotels. Having the meeting location adjacent to a hotel for people who are coming in from out of town is good.
- tables & chairs
- power outlets
Nice to have:
- video capture
- live stream
Note: generally a working group should be small enough that you don’t need a microphone / audio amplification, other than if you are live streaming or doing video capture.
Sessions & Agenda
Start the day with everyone introducing themselves and their affiliated company / project, their presentation if they are giving, and anything they hope to get out of the Working Group.
A Working Group shouldn’t just be a full day of presentations. You may have some presentations, but ideally that should then move into extended Q&A and discussion.
Depending on attendance, you can also go full unconference / open space – have a rough high level topic to discuss, see if people have things they want to talk about ahead of time, and then plan the day on the day of.
You can do “multi-track” where people break off into smaller groups and separate meeting spaces. Make sure each group “harvests” their learnings, and bring everyone back together to share some notable outcomes and resources that came out of the break out sessions.
There will be people that want to have sidebar conversations. Make sure there is room for this so that the main sessions aren’t distracted by the noise from private conversations.
Various facilitated sessions like voting / prioritizing, brain storming, card sorting exercises, or other group exercises are encouraged.
- Fishbowl Conversations https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fishbowl_(conversation)
- Open Space (unconference / BarCamp) http://openspaceworld.org/wp2/
- World Cafe http://www.theworldcafe.com/key-concepts-resources/world-cafe-method/
Materials and Supplies
Name tags: basic stick on name tags so everyone knows each other.
Paper: paper & pens for note taking and sketching
Stickies: sticky notes from small to large if you are going to do
Projector: with lots of dongles / adapters available
People traveling from some areas of the world to the location may need visas. There will need to be a formal corporate entity that takes responsibility for issuing invitation letters and other paperwork.
Basic signage out front of venue or entrance, or someone there to let people in
Signs or clear guidance on where washrooms are.
Print out an agenda with clear times, placed both in any “main room” as well as in the sidebar / mingling space.
Expenses & Sponsorship
These are working sessions. Everyone should be comfortable and secure, but think office, whiteboards, basic meals.
Sponsorship is encouraged to help cover costs, and can cover a number of different items:
- event management
- live streaming, plus video capture / editing
- bursaries for travel costs
Sponsorship can also be in-kind (“we provided our office”, “we paid person X to do the organizing & event management”).
Having your company pay travel costs for you to attend should not be considered a sponsorship.
Sponsors might also want to support an evening (eg attendees dinner) or adjacent broader community event.
It is appropriate:
- for sponsors to say a few words at the beginning and/or end of the day
- for sponsors to be thanked and acknowledge by name / logo / links in various materials
A Working Group can be scheduled alongside a larger conference where a number of people are attending in any case. You can reach out to the conference and see if they have set aside space / time for BoF (Birds of a Feather) for even smaller, ad hoc gatherings.
Usually it’s best to have a space more dedicated to working groups, especially if code, design, or group facilitations are being done.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are starter FAQs. The EIP0 discussion could be considered a working group as well, although on much broader topics that people feel philosophical about, rather than getting UX / code working. Feel free to edit these bits, or maybe it should be deleted and we can debate in the comments? Frankly, anyone that wants to organize an event can and should set their own rules.
Why can’t everyone that wants come?
The goal of a Working Group is to move forward on issues with the people that “do the work”.
Conferences or meetups which have presentations – with one presenter and many listeners in the audience – works for larger, more passive audiences.
Cost and physical space constraints are another issue. Event management and organizing is a lot of work already, and it ramps up dramatically above a certain number of attendees.
Who gets to decide who comes?
Whoever organizes the Working Group.
Please add links to resources here
- XOXO Inclusion & Code of Conduct https://2018.xoxofest.com/inclusion
Working Group session notes that have been completed
- Web3 UX, May 6, 2018, Toronto - side event to EDCON 2018
These are likely to be separate Working Group / event template threads.
- Make a badge design template for conferences (not really a Working Group item)
- Make a Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) template (for conferences, not really a Working Group item)
- Make a Sprint template (for local / regional areas to work on core code / core projects together – are any Ethereum projects encouraging this yet?)
- What’s the process for announcing Working Groups? How do we do this in an open way while still having curation of people who can “do the work” in the room?
- Diversity – how do we bring in people who can’t afford to travel? How do we make sure we have diverse participants?