Planning the user group meeting

Planning the user group meeting

We’re about to have our first-ever user group meeting, and I’m really excited, but also terrified.  Since we’ve never done this before, it’s extra stressful… but hopefully there will be lots of value for everyone there.

It’s ironic that we make scheduling software, but I’m totally daunted by this kind of planning.  Here’s what I’ve done so far – if it’s a success, this will be the roadmap for what we do in the future.  If it’s a failure, it’ll be the “what not to do” list.

  1. Who – About a month before our planned date, we sent out two blanket emails.  One was fairly impersonal and went out to lots of folks, the other was a personal email from me to a much smaller list.  We also posted the invites on some industry forums.
  2. What – There are two questions we want to help answer.  “How do I use your software better?” and “How do other people user Moraware JobTracker?”  I think everyone sharing their knowledge will be great.  To do this, we’ll have 3 speakers that are actual users of our software presenting what they do well.
  3. Where – we’ve scheduled our meeting in conjunction with the ICE trade show on 2/8/2010, so lots of our customers will be right there.  This gives us a conference room that’s really convenient.
  4. When – I’m a bit worried about the time.  5:30pm after a full day of trade-show might be tiring.  But, hopefully food, beer, and caffeine are the solution to keeping everyone engaged and awake. 
  5. How – I’ve had multiple conversations with the speakers, hotel, and show organizers double-checking the room, food, audio/visual, internet, tables, chairs.  None of it is hard, but there are lots of decisions to make – “Are chicken fingers worth $5/person?” “Do we want seating classroom-style or auditorium style?”…and I’m sure things will go wrong.

Still on my to-do list:   Get nametags. Make a feedback card. Practice introductions for the people who’ll be speaking.  Triple-check that the room and services are correct.  Figure out how to keep everything on time.  Videotape the meeting so more people can benefit.

Less than two weeks to go!  Hope to see you all there.

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