If you hadn't already heard we're organising a little shindig in Cambridge UK called GDevCon#1. Also if you follow this blog you may have read Why are Businesses Dictatorships. Trying to be true to my beliefs I wanted GDevCon to be a democratic organisation. I always recommend the book "Maverick" by Ricardo Semler. It confirmed my biases in an easy to read manner!
Here's an early report on how I think it's going....
1) The Team
Experience has shown me that the Venn diagram of [people who complain] and [people who do] and I approached people who do for GDevCon. Business owners, User Group organisers and the presenting community are all highly represented. They have all been great!
2) Joint Vision
I approached them with an offer--> "I don't know what I'm doing and do you want to take a risk with me". They all took the risk!
The thing we wanted to do was have an independent Graphical Developer Conference, up until now NI had done all the heavy lifting and they have created some fantastic events (I love CLA Summits!). We felt that independence brings it's own voice.
3) Celebrate the differences
Apart from all being do-ers, we're all very different and one thing I have learnt over my many years is that difference=strength. So I'm full of ideas, don't like details and love taking risks, to make this a strength I need people around me who can convert the ideas, deal in the weeds and temper my risk-taking. Each person has taken it upon themselves to fill the gaps and we're doing well at supporting each other.
We talk a lot!, and this was a concern for some of the team, is this discussion instead of action?
I didn't want a situation where the "LinkedIn Leader" strides forcefully into battle with their "followers" picking up the pieces behind them. That's all well and good if the leader is 100% correct in all they do! Instead we discuss, argue, compromise or vote. The consensus is all. And you only get consensus from discussion. We use Slack and it has been a splendid tool. The most difficult thing for me is remembering the decisions made!
As an example, today we have had a quite heated debate about how we present ourselves professionally, anyone who has seen me will know where I stand (spoiler: I'm a scruffy individual and I don't present myself professionally!). The debate was actually quite bruising and if it had gone much further we would have gone to a vote. But in the end we came to a compromise. Democracy should be messy and egos sometimes have to be bruised and it's better for it.
5) Be Prepared
All this discussion and the differences in our personalities mean that we are always prepared. Any scenario has been thoroughly exercised with pros, cons and devils advocates. I felt this on several occasions and it's been a real unexpected bonus.
Everyone buys in.
Everyone is aware.
Everyone is prepared.
Self-organising teams mean that people are doing the thing that interests them.
It takes discipline and effort to avoid dropping into autocracy.
I debated whether I would put speed of decision making in here, I think with the right tools and people it can be just as quick. We're not voting on every decision. We're tending to vote on direction and the self-organising team then takes the decisions. If something is a worry any member of the team, they can raise it and we'll discuss and ultimately vote on it.
In summary I'm still a fan and I love working with the GDevCon team and I'm really not a team player! I don't know what the other GDevConites think, but I like it!
Anyways details about our conference can be found at www.gdevcon.com. Tickets are now on sale!