The content catalog for VMworld has opened last week and I already know I marked way to many sessions as favorite for my own good. That’s why I decided on writing a couple of tips to the art of planning your conference. This might help you when the schedule builder opens on July 19th.
For each session there is a level listed with 100 for beginners, 200 for advanced and 300 for deep dives. My experience is that you might want to take the 200 and 300 levels with a grain of salt sometimes. I have seen deep dives that didn’t get any further than a high level overview but also had advanced sessions that went deeper than deep. Please look at the names of the presenters and check if you can find any old sessions for them to see if they managed to deliver the level the promised back then.
First of all if you want to do any workshops its a case of being lightning fast when they are published to get a spot. Last year most of the workshops were reserved within hours of the schedule builder. Also keep in mind that the expert led hands on labs are mostly nothing different then the regular HOL’s but that there’s someone explaining some extra stuff. Some are unique though like the vCloud Foundation workshop last year where they had real VCF clusters for the students to play with. This is not something that easily done for the regular hol’s.
Regular workshops though will contain live exercises led by an expert that can more or less customize the workshop depending on the audience in the room.
Allow for time between sessions
This has been said before but if you have back to back sessions that are on complete different corners of the conference you will probably not make it. This is something you might only see when you get close to the conference since rooms will be assigned rather late due to lots of people scheduling them. Thus make sure your schedule will still work when you arrive at the conference itself and when you have a feeling where all rooms are located.
Plan to visit the show floor
If you plan on only visiting the show floor briefly between I can guarantee you that you will be skipping the next session. I always plan a couple of 2-3 hour gaps for the show floor. Don’t expect a lot during the Welcome reception and/or the hall crawl, things will be packed then up to the point that it’s getting really hard to move around. Some of the sessions in the schedule builder are actually on the show floor so don’t get distracted too much when heading out for those.
Don’t plan too many sessions each day
You know that after lunch feeling you have at work or even worse when attending a course? This will probably be worse during VMworld since you will be overloaded with information during the day and parties at night. Personally I kept it to a maximum of four sessions each day or less.
Export your schedule to your personal agenda
While there will be an app released shortly before VMworld it might be handy to track all your appointments and sessions inside your own agenda. This way you can make sure that you have no overlapping between sessions and other activities. In previous years there was always an export function that made this easy.
— Wouter Kursten (@Magneet_nl) September 3, 2017
My Schedule for VMworld EU 2017, or at least one of the versions.