What exactly is an Unconference?
I was curious to find out! During the first gathering of each morning, attendees were asked to suggest a topic to have a break out discussion about. They then posted that topic to the wall schedule. There were no programs, no speaker submissions, no slideshows; it was all adhoc and run by the attendees as both facilitators and participants. The sessions were held at round tables out in the hall, or in groups of circles in the larger rooms. If the topic didn't interest you, you were free to move to another group. Each session lasted an hour and, in some cases, propagated a secondary session. Notes were taken and posted to the CLS Forum.
A few of the sessions I sat in on were:
- Sustaining community during leadership transitions / how to transition leadership
- Through face-to-face: How to meet and bring together purpose-driven people, leaders, and communities
- Including non-technical contributors in technical projects
Sander and I both sat in on the Leadership transitions session and everyone was surprised to know that we are all volunteers, and that we have (within the Community Leadership Team) a '360 degree review process' – where the team all have an annual review with other members of the team.
United we stand
What I discovered was that with all the big organizations represented at the CLS, (Google, RedHat, Oracle, Linux, O'Reilly, etc.), Joomla isn't doing so bad. I enjoyed networking with, and getting to know, other Community Managers and leaders from those organizations.
A challenge that Jono initiated this year was to hold CLSx events locally. I will be teaming up with Deb Nicholson from OpenHatch, and Langdon White from RedHat to hold CLSxBoston during the next year. There will be other events held in the US and internationally. If you have the opportunity to attend one of them, please do. The Open Source community is a large one, and they are very welcoming!
What's Up next?
The Joomla! World Conference to be held November 7-9 in sunny Cancun, Mexico! The call for speakers is now open and JET applications are being accepted. And don't forget to book your Early-Bird tickets before August 31!
You can read more on the JWC website. http://conference.joomla.org