I was going to send some feedback to TechEd direct and thought I’d blog on it instead so here’s my experience of TechEd 2009.
TechEd 2009 was my first and my overall experience was pretty good. A big thank you to Berlin for a fantastic location for the event, I really enjoyed my Berlin experience and would not hesitate going back.
There was a great party on the Tuesday and Thursday evening after the sessions where everyone could relax and enjoy a German beer or two!
The sessions were well presented in most cases, although the interactive theatres suffered from too much noise from the TLC area which sometimes was a little distracting for both presenters and delegates.
I followed the SharePoint 2010 track fairly closely and as this was in demand some of my points reflect the experiences I had following this track so I’m not saying the whole event had these issues:
- I missed 2 key sessions I penned in on the schedule ironically one of them being the SharePoint 2010 overview (the main session to kick off my week) was one of them. Both sessions were way oversubscribed for the size of the rooms. There were certainly bigger rooms at the venue which could have housed these..
- Having missed a couple of key sessions my time in between was spent literally making sure i could get into each session so I'd end up 15-20 minutes early so not having much chance to enjoy the free beverages on offer.
- Where I had planned lunchtime sessions these started 20 minutes after the morning session and with the food hall 10 minutes away then the lunch rush there was no chance of getting back so a couple of occasions i had to skip lunch (I probably needed it!)
Suggestions for next years TechEd:
- With lunch sessions it would have been ideal if there was packed lunches available as I found no time for lunch on a couple of occasions
- Networking area flags – A good idea would be to have some of the main countries flags so that you could identify people from your own country, this is not just because of the language issue but so you can identify people who may have worked in similar types of organisations as yourself e.g. local authorities
- Session booking system to commit your schedule booking so if you do turn up 5 minutes before the sessions started you are guaranteed a seat, possibly using your barcode to swipe in.
- The event was huge and there may be people you have worked with who you haven't seen for a while who may be sitting on the same session – perhaps before each session starts the projector scrolls a list of people who have registered to attended the session, this would give people the opportunity to see who they could possibly try and network with and who's attending the event.
- Wireless – or lack of! Could hardly get on wireless and reliability was pretty poor this really needs addressing for the next event!
- AND MOST IMPORTANTLY - As I heard of previous TechEd’s there was parties hosted by each country however this year there wasn't one :o( this was a shame and these should be brought back!
To conclude I would certainly go again as the main reason for attending was for the technical sessions and my ultimate aim was achieved.