I thought I would say a few words of how we work with feedback.
Feedback is essential. I have a background in automatic control, so I guess I have the authority to say that! Joke aside, feedback lets us improve and make better and better meetings. I attended cppcon 2015, and there was a daily feedback form, partially so urgent issues could be resolved already during the conference. Very professional!
After a major meeting in our user group, we send a request via email to answer a questionnaire at a third party provider.
- The questions can be answered anonymously, so participants can feel free to express also negative feedback if necessary.
- The questions are few, to increase the answer rate.
- Allow for individual feedback to the talkers (I stole this idea from cppcon!)
- Offer the speakers access to their feedback, not everyone wants it.
- Allow for general feedback to the organizers
One thing we learned from our first meeting was that almost everyone wants the talks to be held in English, or do not care if it is in Swedish or English. Our second big meeting had all the talks and discussion in English. Great, since this both means we can speak properly (talking about programming in Swedish is a bit awkward), all attendees can follow and the youtube videos we record and distribute have a much wider audience.
After the meeting, the organizer group meet over lunch (we do this regularly even when there is no meeting) and discuss the questionnaire, what went good and what we should change to next time. This discussion is great, because it brings up where we want to go and which goals or non-goals we have. I love these lunches, they often take more than two hours. Perhaps because the discussions often float away from the meeting and C++, the organizer group gets along well personally.
Getting involved in this user group was a great thing. Thank you Jens Weller for connecting us in the first place!