GUADEC Check List



  • Does the city have any GNOME people?
  • Does the city have LUG people that can help with organizing?
  • Does the city have a university with a strong computer society?
  • Does it have good airport connections?
  • Is there a good bus infrastructure?
  • Is there a good train infrastructure?


  • Does the conference happen at the weekend?
  • Does the conference happen during the week?
  • Does the conference overlap with any public or religious holidays?
  • Does the venue cost more money during certain dates?
  • How long with the conference be?
    • 2-4 conference days
    • 3-4 BoF/hacking days
  • Can you meet the milestones?


  • Does the venue have a good collection of different sized rooms and areas for large keynotes, networking and small breakout sessions which can accommodate the expected attendees?

  • Does the venue have microphones?
  • Does the venue have video projectors and screens?
  • Is there hacking space near the lecture theatres?
  • Is there space for a coffee area?
  • Is there space for booths to be set up?
  • Is there a registration area?
  • Are there shops, restaurants and pubs near the venue?
  • Do we have to pay the venue for labour (security, cleaners)? How will that factor into planning and the budget?
  • Can food and water be brought in?

More venue information


  • Does the venue have a wired network?
  • Does the venue have a good wireless network?
  • How many devices can the venue lets us have? (aim for at least twice as many as estimated attendees)


  • Does the host city have several party venues that are easy to get to from where the conference will be?
  • Are there tourist opportunities in the city?
  • Is it possible to have food and drink provided at the conference? Do we have to contract through the conference centre?
  • You will need a volunteer to work with the sponsors, visit venues, get bids and plan the parties with event sponsors.


  • Are there any local businesses that would be interested in sponsoring the event?
  • What are the different sponsorship bands, and what amount of sponsorship is required for each band?
  • Can you count on holding the event on its own without sponsorship from the usual sponsors?

  • Note that our traditional sponsors should be approached through the board of directors.


  • Is there a large variety of different accommodation options available?
  • Are there accommodation options near to the venue?
  • Can you organize cheap accommodation?
  • Can you organize discounts with accommodation for conference attendees?
  • What is the cheapest options? Most expensive?
  • How do attendees get from their accommodations to the venue? How long does it take? How much does it cost?


  • Can you organize a different set of travel options to get to the host city?
  • Can you organize discounts for travel fares?
  • Is it easy to get to and from the conference venue?
  • Is it easy to get to the city from the conference venue?
  • How far is it from the airport and train station to the conference venue? How long does it take? How much does it cost?
  • What is the average flight cost from major European and US cities to the host city during the proposed time?


  • Is the infrastructure in place for

  • Have you called for criticism/suggestions/patches for the website, so it looks professional?
  • Are there people capable of maintaining the web page before, during and after the conference?
  • Are you using the standard infrastructure (Wordpress + regcfp)?

  • [Optional] Does the website allow easy translation, without one version becoming outdated/out-of-sync

Keynote speakers

  • Contact them before the conference to get:
    • flight details
    • ensure they've got a hotel room booked
    • get a contact phone number
    • make sure they also have one
  • Give them instructions on how to reach their hotel from the airport
  • Ensure that they are introduced before their conference - print out their bio, and ask them to review it beforehand with you
  • Ensure they know about the social events, and have been extended invitations (they won't know the community, in all likelihood)
  • Consider hosting questions for keynotes, to ensure that they are thanked at the end of their presentation
  • After the conference, contact them to thank them for their presence, ask them if they enjoyed the conference, and ensure travel & accommodation costs get reimbursed promptly

VIPs (advisory board representatives)

  • Get a list of attendees & contact details from the board

  • Call & email them each personally to get:

    • flight details
    • ensure they've got a hotel room booked
    • get a contact phone number
    • make sure they also have one
  • Give them instructions on how to reach their hotel from the airport
  • Ensure they know about the social events and other keynotes & sessions, and have been extended invitations (they won't know the community, in all likelihood)

Board & advisory board meetings

  • Identify infrastructure requirements
    • Projector
    • Whiteboard
    • Conference call facilities
  • Identify lunch location, reserve in advance


  • Work with the GNOME Engagement team
  • Contact press about conference 3-8 months before conference, suggesting they attend
  • Issue one or more press releases before the conference

  • Who will you target during these releases?
  • Prepare press releases one week before their release date, and contact translators ( to translate them during this time

  • Get contacts for all sponsors
  • Get contacts for all reporters
  • Arrange press badges for journalists (they like that kind of thing)
  • Meet journalists personally (perhaps even at the airport) and go over any last minute schedule changes
  • Ring attending press 1 month before conference, review schedule with them, and identify speakers they might be interested in interviewing
  • Make a press room available with computer, desk, table for interviews, coffee machine ideally, maybe a telephone
  • On site: manage interview schedules (try to ensure that if the same person is being interviewed 3 times that they happen consecutively, and contact them before the conference to identify the time that suits best)

More information on working with press

All of the press stuff probably needs a full-time volunteer during the conference, and a lot of time over a couple of months before the conference.

Schedule changes

Announcements inevitably build up during the conference - schedule changes, meeting places for social events, things which are made available during the conference, last-minute BOFs, etc.

The best time to announce these is just before plenary sessions, when introducing keynote speakers. Make sure that the person introducing keynotes is aware of anything which needs to be announced.


  • Do you plan to have poster sessions?

  • Do you plan to have planning or BOF sessions?
    • Isn't this what GUADEC is for? :)

  • How many speakers do you propose to have?
    • I wouldn't go as far as Debian's 14 in 7 days. We started off this year planning for 2 parallel tracks for 2 days, and 1 track for the other day. That makes 5 keynote slots, 22 speaker/BOF/tutorial slots, and 7 hours freeform.
  • What times to you intend to stick to?
    • 45 minute sessions or 1 hour sessions.
  • Do you have any group sessions?
  • Lightning Talks - get a schedule online, and have it on the door the day of the talks. Otherwise no-one knows they're going to miss cool stuff
  • Freeform sessions - identify session leaders and available space beforehand, and have an MC ask them to stand up and send them (with people) to the available room. For additional credit, do the tour of the leaders the days leading up to the conference, and set room allocations beforehand.
  • Freeform sessions 2 - 1 hour wasn't long enough. 2x2 hours would be better (that is, 2 to 4, then again 4 to 6) often there were parallel sessions with major overlap, and people were leaving after 45 minutes brainstorming when they really really wanted to carry on.
  • Have you factored in registration and foundation members meeting?
  • Who will organize the collection of abstracts, papers and photos?
  • Will you have a paper committee to decide which papers to accept?
    • This worked well in 2006, until we had a fight about who was planning what. Clear that up early this time.
  • Who will you get to keynote during the conference?
  • Who will you invite from the business sector?
  • Will you have themes for the conference, and divide the schedule into separate tracks?
    • Yes - if only to make the schedule more colourful. Limit to 3 or 4 tracks if possible.


  • Do you plan to design a special logo for the conference?
  • Do you plan to print tshirts for people to buy/receive during registration?
  • Do all materials prominently display the GNOME logo more than the GUADEC logo? GNOME is more important than GAUDEC.
  • Are the designs ready 2 weeks before they are used, so they can be reviewed?
  • Do you have enough L and XL t-shirts? The split should be 20% XL, 40% L, 25% M, the other 15% equally among baby-doll S and M and standard S.

Printed material

  • Do you have a designer and printer, with a clear idea of what they need, and when?
  • What's the budget for printed material?
  • Can t-shirts be printed by the same printer, and designed by the same designer?
  • What do you plan to be in the registration pack?
  • When are your dates for printing the conference proceedings?
  • Do you plan to have live CD's available?
  • Do you plan to advertise the conference with any leaflets?
  • Get the layout files (Quark, etc) done by GNOME contributors who know what they are doing. Commercial pre-press/printers are often expensive, slow, and incompetent. List all the various logo files (GUADEC, GNOME, sponsors, organisers) on one web page.


  • What numbers of people can the venue hold?
  • What categories of registration do you plan?
  • Do you intend to charge for registration fees?
  • What infrastructure is available to handle registration fees both before and during the conference?
  • Are there likely to be any unforeseen administration costs?
  • See Press - is there a clear path for press contacts coming to the registration site to get accreditation for the event?

Comment from GUADEC attendee, 04 and 05:

  • Last year, I paid the professional registration fee, and I showed up and there was no name badge for me. I was moderately displeased. If you soak people for more money because they are employees of large corporations (a well established tradition) there is never the less the requirement to provide commensurate value (over and above the hobbyist/student level). Defining it strictly in terms of "you should pay more for the other people who can't manage to fund their own flights" is not quite right.

Comment from GUADEC planner:

  • In 2006 we made $6,000+ from registration fees - that pays for many people to travel to GUADEC. In 2009 we didn't have any of that revenue to help fly attendees.


  • You need to keep a budget. (You can get copies of previous year's budgets.)
  • You will need a bank account for the conference.
  • Check the business and tax laws carefully for your country before agreeing to host GUADEC.
  • Do you have funds easily available to organize a number of local services before the conference?
  • Did you factor in currency conversion into your budget?


  • Are there local people available to help with conference registration, session timing, ...?
  • Are there international people available to help with keeping things going smoothly on the GNOME side?
  • Do you have people in each room, to make talks start and end on time.

Board meeting

  • Is there a room available before/after the conference to hold the foundation board and advisory board meetings?
  • Is there a hotel to hold these if a room at the venue isn't available?
  • Are projectors, screens and whiteboards available in these rooms?
  • Does the room have an internet connection?
  • Can you organize lunch, drinks, snacks for these all day meetings?
  • Have invites gone out to the advisory board members well in advance of the meeting? Have reminders been sent out?


  • Are there people with cell phones available during the conference for emergency contacts?
  • Do you have current numbers for the police, ambulances, fire brigade?


  • Are digital video cameras available for recording?
  • Are microphones available for recording? (avoid on-camera microphones if possible)
  • Are there network connections capable of streaming talks?
    • Has the streaming been set up and tested prior to the conference?
  • Who will do the recording?
  • Who will do the editing and publishing? (consider budgeting for this)

GUADEC/HowTo/CheckList (last edited 2016-01-21 20:29:07 by AlexandreFranke)