@Ansh and I have worked on the detailed documentation of IndiaFOSS 3.0, and we invite all IndiaFOSS volunteers to comment in case we’ve missed any details or if there are any details that need correction.
This comprehensive documentation carefully details the planning, execution, and outcomes of IndiaFOSS 3.0. Organized into distinct sections, it covers various workgroups and areas of responsibility, highlighting both the preparatory phase and the actual event. Key areas such as Website Development, Community Outreach, Design, Diversity, Marketing & Communication, and Sponsorship are thoroughly reviewed, with insights into initial plans, achievements, and challenges faced. The documentation also delves into Phase II work-groups including Venue Management, Participant Management & Travel Desk, and Speaker Management, among others. Special attention is given to innovative initiatives like Low Waste Management and the anticipated FOSS Awards. This document serves as a valuable resource, providing a transparent and detailed overview of the event’s organization and management, and stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts of the team and volunteers.
@mriya11 - Riya, the Overall Manager of IndiaFOSS 3.0, played a crucial role in the event’s success. She skillfully managed every aspect of the conference from start to finish. Her responsibilities included coordinating teams, addressing challenges, and ensuring smooth operations. She was actively involved in all the workgroups mentioned below.
We divided the roles and responsibilities for IndiaFOSS 3.0 into multiple workgroups, as follows:
Phase 1 of volunteering application was opened in the beginning of the conference planning which was in July 2023. Workgroups of Phase 1:
- Community Outreach
- Diversity Scholarship
- Marketing & Communication
- Social Media
- Work on a new homepage, assist other work-groups, create a schedule, list anonymized talk proposals, develop a ticket page with QR-based tickets, and help participants with ticket transfers.
- Volunteers quickly created web forms for outreach, diversity, volunteer, travel-desk, and other work-groups.
- Successfully implemented a new UI for the homepage, ticket, and schedule pages.
- Developed a conference check-in system using QR codes, aiding registration desk volunteers.
- The new homepage design was delayed, affecting the development and launch timeline.
- There were bugs in the check-in system, causing some check-ins to not be properly recorded in the system.
- It was observed that student participation was low in previous events.
- Special efforts were decided upon to reach out to student communities and colleges to increase student attendance.
- Additionally, reaching out to previous community partners who have helped promote the conference in their networks was planned.
- Targeted outreach was conducted via email and by reaching out to partners from previous conferences.
- Received 63 Community Partnership applications.
- Onboarded 23 communities as partners.
- Multiple student community partners were involved, including Model Engineering College Kochi, Open Source Developers Club JIIT, Mukti (MSRIT), Indian College Network, Devfolio, SAIT (CUSAT, Kochi), Cybernity, and 12 FOSS Clubs.
- 26 Community Partners were onboarded, some major ones being OpenStreetMap, SMC, Tech4Good Community, VGLUG Foundation, Hasgeek, Internet Freedom Foundation, SFLC, Women In Tech collectives, REAP Benefit, Open Data Kerala.
- The student-professional ratio at the conference was 45:55 out of 1300 participants.
- Community Partnerships were a success overall, playing a big role in the conference selling out two weeks before the event.
- A good number of community partners were onboarded, including student communities.
- Not all community partners adhered to the partnership prospectus.
- It was challenging for volunteers to track whether the onboarded communities were actively promoting the conference or completing the minimum tasks mentioned in the prospectus.
- Going forward, it may be beneficial to prefer communities that actively support our vision or have previously collaborated with FOSS United.
- A volunteer should actively keep track of all activities to be done by partners.
- Partnerships may be officiated only after certain outreach/promotion of the event is done by the partner.
@Ajzal, Jessica, Jeswin
- Create announcement posters (speaker, community partnership, sponsor, marketing).
- Design homepage and schedule page.
- Create mural design, banners, signage, and stickers.
- All designs were aesthetically pleasing.
- Many designs were delayed due to requiring feedback from multiple volunteers.
- Reach out to potential speakers through email, LinkedIn, and personal connections.
- Assist them with proposal creation and submissions.
- Ensure good diversity among conference participants.
- The program was initiated to enhance diversity at the conference and support access.
- A detailed report is available here.
- 15 women speakers/panelists participated in the conference.
- Over 40 proposals were submitted by women.
- Rs 1.55 Lakh was raised for the initiative.
- More than 60 diversity scholars attended the conference.
- While having 9 speakers out of 60 is a good start, the aim should be to increase this number.
- The complete amount raised for diversity scholarships was not utilized.
- Open applications did not reach the target audience.
- Create content for the website and social media, manage social media, send newsletters, and maintain communication through forums and Telegram.
- Effective marketing led to over 1300 participants.
- Posts were not synchronized across all forums.
- Delays in social media posts and newsletter distribution.
- Talk to existing FOSS United industry partners and see if they’re comfortable with their current sponsor tier for IndiaFOSS 3.0. Try to upsell them to a higher tier, if possible.
- Reach out to the community to gather personal/direct leads. Here, ‘community’ refers to Telegram and various social media channels, including individual city FOSS channels.
- Cold call/email big names in the Indian SaaS industry.
- The proposed budget was 35 Lakhs, with FOSS United planning to use 17 Lakhs from the annual budget.
- Raised 7.5 Lakhs through sponsorships; the rest was obtained through other sources (see IndiaFOSS 3.0 budget report).
- High interest among companies to sponsor the event.
- No industry partner upgraded their sponsorship tier.
- Our sponsorship deck did not clearly state that a talk slot is not guaranteed; one sponsor assumed it was and withdrew when their proposal was rejected (moving forward, talk slots should not be mentioned in the deck).
- One sponsor were interested but had to cancel due to last-minute issues and inability to travel to the conference and set up booths.
- One sponsorship was rejected because we do not accept money from outside India.
- Potential sponsors could not see a Return On Investment.
- Some pointed out that there were a lot of students, who were not their target audience.
- Sponsors wanted to capture participant details with QR codes, which we could not deliver.
- Our offerings were considered lesser compared to other events of this scale.
Phase 2 of volunteering application was live on 24th September 2023. Workgroup of Phase 2:
- Venue Management
- Participant Management & Travel Desk
- Speaker Management
- Parallel Session Management
- Videography, Video Editing Photography
- Food & Beverage
Note that when we initially opened the application, there were multiple workgroup options. However, due to challenges in distinguishing between certain groups, we later merged a few of them for efficiency. Space Management and Venue Management were combined, as were Participant Management and Travel Desk. Additionally, we integrated specific roles into existing categories rather than having separate sections. This includes the roles of Mobile Logistics Coordinators, undertaken by Riya, Litto, and Vishal, Managing Adhoc Jobs by Riya, and Volunteer Manager by Litto. We want to express our gratitude for their significant contributions and adaptability during these changes.
- Book the venue, coordinate with the venue manager, and arrange for tables, chairs, lighting, screens, projectors, and internet.
- Adequate space with multiple rooms and a spacious catering area. Successfully set up booths for sponsors, workshop rooms, and displays for parallel sessions.
- Delays in finalizing requirements due to unstable numbers of parallel sessions.
- Confusion over internet requirements for the entire space.
- The first floor was less crowded compared to the ground floor; sessions there attracted less foot traffic.
- Frequent entry and exit of participants through Audi 1’s door caused disruptions.
- Assist participants with various queries related to the conference, including tickets, travel, accommodation, schedule, and other information.
- Successfully managed 1300 participants, which was beyond expectations.
- Delays in providing “how to reach the venue” information and accommodation list.
- Last-minute ticket transfers created a rush.
- Overwhelming interest led to delayed responses to queries after being sold out.
- Maintain constant communication with selected speakers.
- Resolve queries via emails.
- Appoint 4 Speaker manager coordinators, each coordinating with a separate set of speakers.
- Receive all slides one week before the conference.
- Most talk confirmations were received on time, and speakers’ queries were resolved.
- The talks proceeded according to the schedule without major delays; communication with speakers was maintained on conference days.
- Two of the volunteers were students and could not dedicate enough time; another volunteer fell sick, increasing the workload for one particular volunteer and those outside the workgroup.
- Slides were not received well in time, which could have prevented the slight delays that occurred.
- Lack of effective means to contact speakers; having their phone numbers was not useful due to connectivity issues at the venue.
- A possible solution is to inform speakers well in advance and keep them up to date.
- Host various un-conference sessions like workshops, build stations, project showcases, Linux booths, and open spaces.
- Participants gained knowledge from a variety of options, which were less technical and more accessible than some talks.
- First-floor tables had less visibility compared to ground-floor ones.
- Workshop rooms were too small.
- Lack of awareness about workshop sessions.
- Photography on the first floor was not done, as the vendor was not informed about it.
Everything else went well, and we received a lot of great pictures.
- Set up a livestream of the event in coordination with the AV vendor.
- The livestream was successfully conducted, with only minor AV issues.
- The design template for the stream was prepared well in advance and looked great.
- The volunteers had to ensure the livestream worked fine in both auditoriums and coordinate with different vendors in each.
- One volunteer fell sick and could not attend the conference.
- Feedback from the team suggested starting the conference later to give volunteers enough time to set up the livestream.
@stalwartcoder, Kiran, Yuktha Reddy Sweta Tanwar
- Plan to have four emcees, two for each auditorium. They would switch the next day. Each emcee pair would prepare by reviewing the speaker’s bio and talk description for their assigned hall.
- The emcees hosted the event smoothly and coordinated well.
- The schedule delay led to late planning for hosting.
- Emcees switched their auditoriums a day before the conference, causing some confusion.
- Ensure the menu is inclusive and diverse enough for all participants.
- Accommodate the food within the budget of 13 lakhs.
- Overall positive feedback on food.
- Food was arranged within budget.
- Adequate seating space during lunchtime.
- Low food wastage.
- The menu was not inclusive; vegan diets should be accommodated.
- Tea and Coffee should be available throughout the event.
- Task Assignment to the Volunteers
- Finance & Accounting
- Talk Review Group (invitation based)
- Conference Day Volunteering
- Audi Management
- Food and Breakfast
- Crowd Management
- Low Waste Management
- FOSS Awards
- Divide volunteer onboarding into two phases: initial phase for certain work-groups, and a second phase mostly for coordination and logistics.
- Similar tasks were grouped and assigned to specific work-groups, which coordinated among each other.
- Managing a large number of volunteers was challenging.
- In phase 2, guidance for volunteers, especially regarding conference-day tasks, was unclear.
- Coordinate with vendors and sponsors for payments, confirm sponsor payments with accounting, generate invoices, address payment failures or receipt queries from participants, and manage orders and reimbursements for various items.
- Most tasks were completed on time.
- Delays in payments to some vendors and in sharing receipts with participants due to workload.
- Form a committee of experts to review talks, workshops, panels, and other sessions, and assist in scheduling.
- The committee reviewed around 210 proposals, including talks, and parallel sessions, dedicating significant effort over a month.
- Delays and confusion in the review process and in determining the number of talks and sessions to accommodate. In future editions, plan to close the Call for Proposals (CFP) earlier to allow sufficient review time.
Team: All IndiaFOSS Phase I/II Volunteers, Most of City Chapter volunteers and FOSS Club Leas
- Assign all volunteers into workgroups for major tasks.
- Hold an orientation meeting to brief them about their tasks.
- Volunteers for tasks requiring more attention (registration desk, swag setup, livestream, booths) were to arrive by 7am.
- Most major requirements were taken care of with no significant hiccups.
- There were enough volunteers for ad hoc tasks.
- The in-person meet at NIMHANS on 27 was announced late, and most volunteers could not attend as they were traveling.
- An online meeting planned for that night was also canceled due to other urgent tasks at NIMHANS.
- It was decided all volunteers would arrive at NIMHANS by 7 am to be briefed about their tasks, but only a few could come on time.
- As a result, many volunteers were unclear about their responsibilities.
- A notable delay occurred at the registration desk; different people had to be instructed on how to register participants.
- Minor technical issues with tickets from our end caused some rush. Later, a miscellaneous registration desk was set up for participants who had purchased tickets but were facing issues.
At IndiaFOSS 3.0, FOSS United attempted to make it a low-waste conference in partnership with “Let’s Be The Change (LBTC).”
- It was indeed a low waste event and we love the NO GIFTING culture at FOSS United.
- Two things we could have avoided
- Avoided the Bagasse plates for breakfast
- Ensure that caterers do not use wooden spoons (they were used for desserts)
- We could have connected with the caterers at least a week before to ensure they are aware about the low waste event and help them provide cutleries if needed.
- The email and digital awareness campaigns helped people to avoid creating more waste.
- Not providing any tissues was helpful. (However this is possible if all plates and cutleries are clean and hygienic)
- We need to work with the caterers to ensure that excess food is given to the needy and food waste being sent to piggeries/as a feed to animals/for bio-methanation instead of composting by the municipality. Reason being the first 3 practices mentioned are way more sustainable that just composting.
- Food waste was minimal during both the days. It was around 20 to 30 kgs and was way lesser than a conventional event for a similar crowd as told by the caterer.
In collaboration with LBTC, FOSS United will:
- Utilize Cutlery Banks in various cities.
- Engage with caterers at least two weeks before the event to ensure the execution of our low-waste plans.
- Recruit zero-waste volunteers from different cities to assist at cityFOSS conferences.
- Develop incentives for zero-waste volunteers from various cities.
- Offer eco-friendly t-shirts and goodies at future events.
- Promote the use of public transportation and shared cabs.
- Train lead organizers in conducting low-waste conferences.
The above can be also found at separate thread- Making FOSS United Events Low-Waste.
Earlier we decided the open the nomination during IndiaFOSS but we had bandwidth crunch during the conference so we couldn’t open the nomination. To see update on the FOSS Awards, please follow this thread.
Once again, we invite all IndiaFOSS volunteers to comment in case we’ve missed any details or if there are any details that need correction.