I saw an advert around mid-March on Lead Dev Live, which is a single track two-day conference around engineering leadership. I was curious how it would look like virtually so I signed up straight away. I have never attended conferences virtually before only meetups, courses, webinars but not two-day-long conferences. I was very impressed by the clear communication on multiple media channels including a slack channel, the organisation, the technology, the code of conduct, the design and the general flow of the conference talks and panels.
I had a true conference experience, which I had thought that it would not be possible before, I even enjoyed that there were reasonable breaks as it helped to digest the content. There is something powerful in watching things live as they happen, and I appreciated that rather than just watching the recordings. Live events have their own magic as many people do the same with you at the same time even if it is remote. This kind of adaption and acclimatisation of an in-person conference into a virtual setting in such a short amount of time was refreshing and encouraging to see.
It is now roughly a week after the conference, and I still remember the hosts of the event but normally I would not so it truly matters how the intros and outros are handled as well. If things seem seamless it is due to the orchestration of warming up and cooling down after the talks. I was happy to see that was not left out and there were some preps before and after the session. In some cases that enabled me to scribble down some keywords, which I researched afterwards.
Don’t create more chaos
When watching Leading teams through times of uncertainty and upheaval, the message for me was not to create more chaos within the organisations. To have the ability to make choices, serve core needs, and maintain a sense of purpose, the Biceps model was mentioned. It is just a very simple reminder that we are all human beings and we have needs. Those needs should be well taken care of so that we can function, live and work. I think that it cannot be said enough how mental health is important not just during exceptionally uncertain times but all times.
‘Retention starts with the interview’ was one of the highlights of Finding potential in your interview processes as the interview is the first impression that we might have about the people and the culture at any organisation. The concept of ‘Culture-add’ can only happen if people want to work with and for you so it is important how we are represented at both sides of the interview. Things can change since today’s interviewee can be tomorrow’s interviewer. It is our responsibility to build awareness and education around us how the way the interviews are conducted is the mirror of our organisation’s culture.
I was interested in the content of the session on Minimum Viable Business Continuity Management despite it was jokingly labelled that this is not a very popular area. I have lived through many cases when incidents happened at some of the organisations I worked for and we were not ready for them, which meant there were the usual panic and chaos everywhere. ‘Operability helps treat the employees and the customers better’ as building resilience is a key part of that and ‘people are the heart of it’ were good shout-outs. The seven key practices mentioned are easy to follow in this talk from risk assessment through testing approach until the “Ghostbuster” rule of having people ready to be called when something unexpected happens. I took a mental note of being more conscious of these practices or the lack of them.
Both live streaming and event production can be some forms of arts, and during the conference, it kept me wondering how it is done, and who is working behind to make this happen and then towards the end of the conference they showed us how it is monitored and put together from different locations through different productions: AOTV and On Event Production Co. I was quite pleased to see that this was shared openly as it might inspire and provoke other event organisers to improve their streaming of virtual gatherings.
Playlist and Slack
I am grateful for being able to walk away with multiple snippets that I will either dig deeper into or be more mindful of like the Mental Health First Aider course online. All the talks can be found here on this playlist, and there is also a slack space where people can engage with each other and the speakers of the talks and there are also regular updates and knowledge sharing happening there. Please have a look and explore it for yourself.