Monday, January 2, 2017

Feedback from Symposium

In December, I was proud to be part of the Minnesota Government IT Symposium, in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I served on the planning committee, led an all-day workshop, and gave three presentations during the conference. It was a lot of fun, and I met a lot of interesting people and attended some excellent presentations.

As a presenter, we always ask for feedback. This helps the conference understand how each session went, and assists in planning next year's conference.

Feedback is also helpful to the presenter. Feedback is a gift, and we should seek out feedback so we can improve ourselves. So I was excited recently to receive my presenter feedback from the Government IT Symposium. I wanted to share them here, with some notes for how I'll use this feedback.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning Tech Jam (report-out)

In this session, I provided a recap of the all-day "Tech Jam" workshop on business continuity and disaster recovery planning and shared what we learned, including the detailed results of the four work groups during the workshop.

No comments.

Leadership Lessons from Unusual Places

This is one of my favorite presentations, and I've given variations of it at different conferences and events. I sometimes like to find leadership lessons in unusual places. Looking for leadership lessons through the lens of unexpected sources can be interesting and insightful. In this session, we learned about leadership from various sources including Disney's Mulan (coaching), Breaking Bad (commitment, hiring), Star Wars (taking on a new role) and My Little Pony Friendship is Magic (relationships).

  • "Maybe for the Star Wars example, use actual examples like you did for the other ones, not just 'what could we tell Darth Vader in a leadership transition.' Because that doesn't really happen in the movie. Your Breaking Bad one was good because you used real examples from the show."
  • "Good speaker. Very entertaining."
  • "So useful and topical!"
  • "By far the best session and most interesting speaker I have seen so far. This was a great session that provided great ideas and knowledge."
  • "Love the presentation ~ very creative way of presenting your information! Don't think I will look at those movies in the same way again!"
  • "I was really impressed at the awareness of your ability to take movies/ tv shows and pull out the leadership skills. Made me aware of the fact that it is not just entertainment!!! I will probably analyze and look at movies/ tv a little different in the future!"

Usability Testing in Open Source Software

In this presentation, I spoke about our usability tests this summer with GNOME and Outreachy. Attendees had great comments about Renata's traditional usability test and Ciarrai's paper prototype test. People also liked the heat map method to examine usability test results. When I talked about the UX test, attendees thought the emojis were a good start, but also suggested the method could be improved. I asked for help to make this better next time.

  • "Very informative and entertaining."
  • "Great presenter and great information."
  • "Interesting, would like to see more examples of results and test questions."
  • "He's open to ideas and feedback from audience."
I appreciate hearing these comments and feedback because it helps me to do better next time. The Leadership Lessons talk was a lot of fun, but I think it is time to retire the "Star Wars" example. I led with that in my presentation because it was the first "leadership lesson from unusual places" I ever did. But it uses a different format and structure than the other Leadership Lessons examples. One reviewer certainly noted the difference. And I agree that the other Leadership Lessons examples are more effective because we are drawing out lessons from something, where in the "Star Wars" example I ask the audience to make recommendations to Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. I agree that this method is less effective.

I'm glad that folks found the disaster recovery and business continuity session valuable. We worked very hard on this one to create a presentation based on the previous day's workshop. The goal in the conference presentation was to share what we had learned. I also wanted to recognize the effort everyone put in, and let managers know that their staffs' time was wisely used and generated valuable results. We also provided the results to conference attendees for them to use in their organizations and boost their own disaster recovery planning.

Thank you for your wonderful feedback.

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