Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Refreshing the Conference Mission Statement

In only three months from now I’ll be putting on the 9th Prairie Developer Conference. Ninth. In four and a half years. Wow!

The conference has come a long way since the initial event in June 2010. The initial conference was born out of what I saw as needs:

  • A high quality software development conference for the Canadian prairies (MB/SK typically got overlooked by vendors and event organizers).
  • A conference that would be accessible to people of the prairies – lower cost and regional, so organizations could send more people and get better ROI on training dollars compared to sending one person to a remote conference and spending on travel expenses.
  • An incubator for new speakers to be developed in, and an opportunity for lesser known (but still highly competent) speakers to break out on a larger stage.

I feel that Prairie Dev Con has met those three things and continues to meet these three core needs. But I feel like Prairie Dev Con is ready to evolve – to take this thing that we’ve all built together and further impact our Canadian prairie communities.

I started thinking about what the mission statement is for the conference. I had never really thought of that before – what is it that Prairie Dev Con exists for? It can’t just be to “have a conference”. It can’t just be “offer learning”. There needs to be more behind Prairie Dev Con than just another technology event on the calendar.

After giving it some though, here’s what I want Prairie Dev Con to be known for:

Prairie Developer Conference is an event…

  • for software developers to share, learn, and connect
  • where all skill levels are welcome, from student to expert
  • that’s inclusive of the tech community, regardless of tech stack or organization size
  • that’s safe for all, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation
  • that provides an opportunity for new community leaders and speakers to emerge
  • that impacts Canadian prairie developer communities beyond the event itself
  • that showcases the Canadian prairies to guest speakers and attendees

I want Prairie Dev Con to be more than just two days of sessions. I want it to be an experience where people connect, have those “a-ha!” moments, get excited about building something because of what they saw or heard or experienced, and that provides opportunities to continue those conversations and support Canadian prairie developer communities.

Now what does all that mean in real life? How does that look in practice? In the next day or so I’ll be making announcements around the March 2015 Prairie Dev Con that will speak to some of these, but otherwise – well the purpose of a mission statement isn’t to state what you’ve already done but rather where you’re going. It’s a statement you rally behind and move towards. It’s the values that you should be comparing every decision and action to.

I hope you’re just as excited as I am and share this vision about Prairie Dev Con, and I hope you come out to experience it this March in Winnipeg and this June in Regina.


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