October Rules Fest: Providing Feedback

I may be in the minority, but I would prefer something a little more structured than the October Rules Fest 2008 call for suggestions.

If I was authoring a feedback form for the conference, I would solicit feedback for a number of key areas. I will outline some of those areas below. This is obviously not a finished feedback form. Some of these are free-form-answer questions and some should be multiple choice. That said, if you attended and are planning to provide feedback to the organizers, consider addressing some of these areas in your comments.

    Overall Conference:

  • How did you learn about the conference? [friend, email, blogs, etc.]
  • What were your reasons and goals for attending the conference?
  • Did the conference meet your needs and expectations?
  • Would you attend the conference again? [yes, no, maybe]
  • Would you recommend the conference to others? [yes, no, maybe]
  • What did you like most about the October Rules Fest?
  • What did you like least about the October Rules Fest?
  • How does this conference compare to others you have attended?
  • Do you regularly attend the Business Rules Forum or other conferences related to rules technology?

  • Rate the conference length. [too long, too short, just right]
  • Rate the length of the sesssions. [too long, too short, just right]
  • Rate each speaker / session on the following attributes:
    • Was the content technical enough?
    • Would you like to hear the speaker again?
    • Would you like to see more talks like this?
  • What was your favorite session? Who was your favorite presenter?
    Organization and Accommodations:

  • Did you attend all days / all sessions?
  • How far did you travel to attend?
  • How did you pay for attendance? [out of pocket, or employer paid]
  • What do you consider a reasonable price for the conference?
  • Did you stay at the conference hotel? If not, where did you stay?
  • If you stayed at the conference hotel, how were the hotel facilities and service?
  • Rate the conference registration process on ease and effectiveness.
  • Rate the conference staff on helpfulness and friendliness.
  • Rate the conference organization – was it well organized?
  • Rate the facility: room, chairs, coffee, etc. Should we use this location again?
  • Rate the break time. Were the breaks frequent enough or too frequent? Were they too long or too short?
  • What did you do for lunch? [brought own lunch, ate in hotel, found nearby restaurant]
  • Were these lunch arrangements sufficient? Please recommend any alternatives.
  • Did you participate in evening gatherings with conference attendees? [dinner / drinks] Would you prefer to see more or less organization/structure to the evening activities?
  • Did you receive a bag of promotional items (cds, white papers, etc.)? Did you find those items useful? Would you like to see promotional items from the sponsors?
  • Did the conference sponsorships have any influence on your decision to attend?
  • Would you prefer to see more or less corporate sponsorship?
  • Should sponsors receive one or more guaranteed speaking slots?
    Moving Forward:

  • Do you prefer single-track or multi-track? If multiple-track, how would you define/divide the tracks?
  • Should vendors be allowed to demonstrate products? If so, how and in what context? [presentations, booths, etc.]
  • Should the presentation slides and session videos be available to the public, or only to attendees?
  • Would you be interested in joining a rules community professional organization?
  • If a review panel is used to select conference content, is there anyone you would nominate to the review panel? Who?
  • Are there people who did not present talks this year, but you would like to see present talks in the future? Who?
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2 responses to “October Rules Fest: Providing Feedback”

  1. James Owen says:


    While I might “want” all of that information, I probably won’t get it from the average attendee – and those are the ones from whom I would really want the information.

    There are several groups for rules professionals already in existence today; the RuleML (mostly academic and standards guys), BRxG (Business Rules Experts Group), AAAI, IEEE – AI SIG, etc.

    One of the goals of ORF is NOT to compete with any other professional rules group but that is NOT a focus either. We try to conduct our business in more of a vacuum such that we do not blatantly “knock off” ideas from other sources – we just don’t pay any attention to them and, therefore, have a “clean room” approach to what we are doing. You cannot be unique by copying what others have done.

    Now, AT THE SAME TIME, we have to be aware of other groups and make possible alliances, not something that I personally favor but something that the rest of the group seems to favor. For 2009 we have been approached to co-locate with RuleML in Las Vegas. Whether that is a good idea or not is up for debate. I don’t like Vegas. I prefer Southern France but I can’t afford that. Southern Spain sounds like a good idea to me – warm and affordable. :-)

    Now that you have ventured the idea, why don’t we send the document out to those who attended ORF and see if we can elicit any decent responses. I’ll send this form to others in the planning committee and see what they think.

    BTW, if you “officially” join ORF as a planner, will that mean that you will “officially” represent Microsoft at ORF and will that mean that Microsoft would agree to help sponsor the costs.

    Remember, unlike other groups, sponsorship does NOT guarantee a speaker slot and we do not require speakers to sponsor in any way. Third Pillar and Visual Rules were both sponsors but neither spoke at ORF 2008. Fair Isaac was a speaker as was ILOG loooonnng before they agreed to sponsor. Fair Isaac agreed to be a Diamond sponsor two weeks before ORF 2008 and we got the money after the conference. ILOG in France (not the USA) sponsored at the Bronze AFTER the conference to help cover expenses. Think about and check with “the powers that be” at Microsoft. Thanks,


  2. Karl Reinsch says:

    Hi James. I agree that the “average” attendee won’t provide all the feedback you want or need. That’s why it is important in the future to have a feedback form already placed in the packet that attendees receive so that they can fill it out as the conference goes along.

    I have a whole separate post drafted on the topic of a professional organization. There were clearly people interested in forming one during the roundtable Q&A session. I’m largely skeptical because there already are so many other organizations. (But I would hazard a guess that many ORF attendees are not members of those organizations…) However, if folks can make a compelling case for a unique organization with some good value-adds – I would be one of the first to join.

    Now, as for helping with ORF – you haven’t “officially” invited me yet. :-) And to be perfectly clear – my participation would in no way mean that my employer endorses or sponsors the conference. Sponsorship is an entirely separate discussion that might or might not involve me. Inviting me to help is in no way a magic ticket to sponsorship money – I’m just a lowly Lead SDE in a company of 90,000+ people. :-)

    My participation in planning or organization would solely be on behalf of myself as an individual. Just like this blog in no way constitutes the opinion of my employer. Everything I have said here about ORF are my comments alone – as an interested observer and attendee. Besides, one of the things I like about ORF is that it is fiercely independent – and it needs to stay that way.

    All of that said, I would also hate to be invited to participate in something solely because of my employer. :-) (I’ll also resist the urge to include a Groucho Marx quote here.)

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