I’m a wee bit behind on reflecting on the conferences that I was fortunate enough to participate in, but I like to spend the time to think about it. I guess to some extent it’s probably fairly selfish of me, because I think that the most frequent user of this data is me (I use it when I’m looking back and trying to remember what went right and what could have gone better), but hopefully you can forgive my indulgence.

I was at MMS 2009 this year, and other than participating in a chalk talk and spending some time at the booth, I only ended up delivering one breakout session (which is rather abnormally small for me at a conference). How did it go? Well, it was in the Top 5 list for Friday sessions, but as always, I like to compare myself to all other speakers for the entire week, and see where I fall in the stack ranks.

The good thing is: I was in the Top 10% of all sessions (there were 146 with 10 or more evaluation reports) for all but one variable. And the results are rather interesting to reflect on, because I took an altogether different approach for this session than my normal session deliveries (mostly because it’s a completely different audience, one that I struggled to connect with at MMS 2008). Here’s how I landed:

 

  ACT 5.5
Overall 20
Usefulness 15
Knowledge 15
Presentation Skills 15
Slides 12
Demos 15
Relevant 13
Technical Content 12
Average 15

And here were the comments from the evaluations:

Chris, excellent session on ACT. Will be email you soon.

Great presentation. it gave me a lot more information than i had expected to get. I am glad i stuck around for this last session.

Had to leave early, but enjoyed what I saw. Look forward to downloading the .WMV file as seeing what I missed.

This was the best session of all week. It was very very intresting and the presenter was really really good

very good info

Very valuable info - I will be showing slides and recordings to Testing team - I hope they will be as excited about this as I am!

Since I don’t have a pile of sessions to compare what went well and what didn’t I just have to look at attributes. So, here’s my take on this data:

ACT Talks that go a little bit geeky fill a gap. There have been talks about ACT for years, and 5.5 wasn’t that different. This talk could have been the epitome of mediocrity, but going geeky and finally answering some nagging questions (not to mention ensuring that we understand where the rubber meets the road) led to some decent scores. This is going to inspire me to continue to talk about internals and give you more raw data in order to drive your decisions.

Whatever made people think the session was mostly good isn’t captured on these attributes. It’s hard for me to figure out why I dropped out of the top 10% for Overall Sat when I’m in the top 10% on all of the attributes we’re measuring.

I can deliver slides and still be technical enough. For those of you who have seen me present at other conferences, one of the things I commonly do is present mostly demos. In some cases, it’s even 100% demo. Here, it was mostly slides, and I managed to receive good scores for both the quality of the slides and the technical content. Nice.

Talking about ACT was timely. With the impending release of Windows 7, there are a lot of people interested in this. Let’s make sure we keep ahead of the game and ensure we’re giving you the information you need when you need it.