The WordCamp Osnabrück 2019 has shown how professional the German WordCamps have become. Thanks to the extremely good work of the German community, WordCamp participants were able to fully concentrate on the content.
At the WordCamp Osnabrück we were able to gain more insights than ever before. Because two colleagues helped in the core team of the organization: Our colleague Leefke in the marketing and social media team andJohannes, our founder and managing director, as organizer for the workshops (yes, there were finally workshops at a WordCamp again :)).
We can therefore report first-hand how professional the German WordCamps have become and how the community manages to maintain the high level of previous years. Of course, we would like to especially emphasize the WordCamp Retreat in Soltau and that in record time WordCamp Cologne 2018.
So if you've been hesitant so far, we can only recommend the community work to you - especially of course the WordCamps and Meetups.
For our Recap we were able to collect a lot of input on the topic of community work. For this purpose, I conducted a short interview with Leefke, who was part of the marketing team and therefore very close to the organization work.
Leefke, what motivated you to join the WordCamp orga team?
At the WordCamp Retreat in Soltau and WordCamp Cologne 2018 I was already a volunteer. This time I dared to join the core team - a decision I would definitely make again and again! Because in the community you work together with professionals from different areas: From photography, web design, programming, marketing. And with community members of all ages (in our case from 26 to 54 years).
I personally benefited enormously from the ideas, the skills and the experience of the team. So if someone is thinking of getting involved in the community, as a volunteer for a WordCamp or as part of an organizing team, I can only say: Have the courage, it's worth it!
And how exactly does one become a member of the Orga-Team?
There is usually no official application process for small WordCamps. The WordPress Foundation's requirement is that the lead organizer applies to the Foundation with his or her desired WordCamp and then seeks suitable co-organizers.
Since the idea for the WordCamp Osnabrück was born some years ago within the WP-Meetup Muenster/Osnabrueck, the orga-team was formed relatively quickly from the Meetup members.
Once the team is up and running, the first thing to do is to get a rough idea of the general conditions. In the first organizing meetings we decided when, where and in which format the WordCamp Muenster/Osnabrueck should take place.
After that, the distribution of the areas of responsibility was discussed. In our team, it was clear relatively quickly who would take over which area - this is best determined by the interests and abilities of the individual team members. However, we were initially lacking someone to plan the volunteers. We could have "tendered" this task externally, but in the end, we didn't need to because a Meetup member agreed to do it.
And what about the time required?
If you would like to co-organize a WordCamp, you must of course bring enough time with you. After all, you will have regular meetings (at the beginning every 2 weeks, later weekly) and various tasks in the run-up to the camp. Of course the teams are flexible, so there is not always the same amount of work for everyone. For example, the acquisition of sponsors has to start early, whereas the volunteers can be organized at relatively short notice.
At the WordCamp itself, most of the work is then done. Then it's all about the finer points: setting up and dismantling, filling swag bags, checking technology, training volunteers, keeping the information on the website up to date, distributing speaker gifts, helping participants with orientation, answering questions on site and via social media, taking photos and simply making sure that everyone feels comfortable. I hope we have done that. 😉
Before we get to our top presentations, we have to say a special thanks to our session hero Matthias: Despite a triple torn ligament, he came to Osnabrück and had his session "How to deal with difficult clients" held. But more about that later.
The agony of choice - our top sessions & workshops
Of course we would like to include in our recap all workshops and sessions we attended at the WordCamp Osnabrück. For reasons of space, however, we will limit ourselves to our personal top placement. If you are missing a session here, just write a comment to this post. 🙂
>> Workshop: Health Check - Performance and Security
After a long period of abstinence, the workshop format finally made its comeback at WCOS 2019. At a WordCamp in the Barcamp style anyone can suggest a lecture and the participants then democratically vote which topics they would like to hear and when.
Workshops, on the other hand, have the advantage that the orga-team can set thematic priorities. For example, one can offer a stage to supposed niche topics. In addition, the workshop leaders can adapt to their participants before the camp begins and adjust their topics and the difficulty of the workshop.
The workshop, which was of course particularly interesting for us, is the security and performance workshop of Michael Hörnlimann. With the help of Webpagetest.org, Hacker Target and a few other tools, it shows you how to quickly create a meaningful audit of yourssites .
Michael took three sites of the participants to his chest and explained live what needs to be optimized in each case. All tools he used for this you can find directly in his Recap for the WordCamp Osnabrück 2019. Unfortunately there are no video recordings of the workshops themselves.
>> Session: Wireframing – More Customer Confidence and Productivity With Style
Arne Albers from motion media shows in his BarCamp session how to optimize your design and development workflows with reasonable wireframes.
If done right, you can use the design drafts to help your clients understand your work and shorten feedback loops. This also improves communication with your customers and creates confidence in your abilities.
>> Workshop: Gamification - Planning is what counts
The workshop "Gamification with WordPress - An "introduction" by Carlos Fischer Fernández and Frank Staude (who unfortunately couldn't be there - get well soon :)) shows how you can improve your WordPress -projects.
The focus here is clearly on preparation. Because without the right concept and a clear goal in mind, Carlos says, the playful approach unfortunately doesn't really achieve much.
"The most important thing in the whole WordPress gamification process is the preparation."
In the course of the workshop, Carlos will show you which Pluginsones you can use and which hurdles you have to overcome in the implementation. With a good concept, you can engage your users through gamification or communicate your product and service in a more playful way.
>> Sketchnotes for beginners
Leefke has fallen in love with this interactive session! 😉 Because Bettina Schöbitz shows in her session "Sketchnotes for Beginners" super beginner friendly, how you quickly create beautiful sketchnotes. Even as a complete beginner you will master the basics after Bettinas session. And with a little practice you might be able to create your own live sketchnotes at the next WordCamp.
Here is Bettina's session to help draw:
>> Workshop: WordPress as marketing machine
In their workshop, Stefan Kremer and Thomas Maier have taken on the topic of marketing. Using the example of a travel blog, they show how you can trim your site SEO and content to achieve maximum reach.
The two of them give input on all important topics, from key-word research to building a fanbase. Of course including helpful Plugintips. A great talk for all of you who want to start a new project soon.
Of course we also shared our experiences and input with the community in sessions and lectures. Matthias, Johannes and I held sessions on the topics of customer communication for freelancers, PageSpeed and the idea of the 'Economy for the Common Good'.
Matthias, our Head of Product Development, has collected examples of particularly difficult customers from his twelve years as a freelancer. And he shows how you can deal with these difficult customers as a freelancer or agency.
With his tips, you will gain more confidence in the acquisition process and can minimize or even completely avoid conflicts in the later course of the project. Matthias extremely worth seeing (and entertaining) session can be seen here:
In my session I dedicated myself to my favourite topic: page speed. With a live analysis I show why you should not rely only on GooglePageSpeed Insights's results and what advantage a real load time test offers you.
I give a short overview of the tool and show how you can quickly generate reasonable readings. By the way, I have also written an e-book about this, which you can download download anytime can. You can also find the printed version in your WCOS Swag-Bag. 😉
In his session, our managing director Johannes presents the concept of the 'Economy for the Common Good'. He explains the background, how the concept works and, above all, how you can take the first steps with your company towards a common good certification.
The session is perfectly suited for entrepreneurs who have always wanted to get closer to the topic of sustainability and public welfare orientation, but have not yet had the time or opportunity to do so.
Since JohannesLeefke and I were also directly involved in the WCOS organization this time, and since we RAIDBOXES now know even better how much work is behind a WordCamp, we would like to take this opportunity to praise the entire organization team once again.
As a normal participant you will of course seldom notice how professionally the WordCamps are organized. You are happy about the complete WLAN, the delicious food and the central location of the location. But if you get a look behind the scenes, you get a completely different view of the challenges of a WordCamp organization.
You experience first-hand all the effort and stress that the orga voluntarily exposes itself to for the benefit of the community. And you can see how cool the organizers remain despite everything.
Therefore a big thank you from the whole RAIDBOXES team for the excellent work at the WCOS 2019! Thanks also to all volunteers, speakers and workshop leaders! Without your commitment, the WCOS in this form would not have been possible 🙂
If you've gotten into the mood for community work, take a look at where and when the next WordPress meetup will take place near you. At meetup.com and in Community area on WordPress.org you'll find a lot of information about community work and the Meetup landscape in Germany and Europe.