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I suggest you ...

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  1. Have publicized production milestones

    For example, Friday night could be "Define the Project," "Assess Your Team's Skills" and maybe "Shop for Talent"... Saturday AM could be "Assignments and First Milestones," or whatever. Turns out that just jumping in and hitting the keys *might not* be the best way to run a project!

    5 votes
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    • More Designers!

      Every team should have a graphic designer. A lot of the non-profits end up needing a logo, so more designers with branding experience would be helpful. It's not just coding and functionality with these projects. Design/color/font decisions are being left to technical people and the non-profits who don't always know what they're doing or know what they want...and I've heard it from them directly. Stronger visuals are going to push these projects to another level and leave more of an impact with the non-profits' audiences.

      10 votes
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      • set quality expectations for projects

        i know there are limitations to givecamp (time, skill, etc), but i think it would be helpful if we could help define some basic QA procedures. i saw a lot of sites break during the presentation (due to screen width, webkit browser, etc), and i think we should try to prevent that when possible. perhaps a simple list would do the trick, with items like "you should make sure to test your website in [browsers]"

        1 vote
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        • Requiring development hosting environments be ready before GiveCamp OR access to existing infrastructure be ready.

          We got a call at 4pm the Friday GiveCamp started from the tech person at the non-profit who had just found out about the project. Well before GiveCamp, we should have found out about the infrastructure they already had to host or had a dev environment and testing environment setup. We spent half of Saturday getting this working just so we could code and test. It was not done earlier because we hadn't been matched to our non-profit early enough and the email about servers available was far too late

          3 votes
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          • I found too late as a project lead that the skills claimed by my two

            Project leads should have earlier contact with technical resources. Working with technology I wasn't familiar with, I was too dependent upon techs that clearly didn't understand the technology they claimed to understand. This was on me to identify and remedy, but until Sunday morning they claimed to be ontrack with their assignments, only to decide unilaterally they couldn't deliver what was expected. With such short time frames, I would have benefited from pre-camp time discussing their past efforts, and getting a better handle on their comfort levels with the work proposed.

            3 votes
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            • Stretch Activities!

              Have a person to lead everyone in stretches at set times through out the day, This way people get away from their computers for just a moment and might feel a little less run down by Sunday afternoon.

              9 votes
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                1 comment  ·  Admin →
              • Assignments

                It seems that the assignments were primarily by head count. If a team has a PM and a PM Shadow assigned, they shouldn't count as techies. Some teams had 3-4 techies assigned, where we only had 1 techie, a Technical Lead, a PM and a PM shadow..... rather light on skills.

                2 votes
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                • Time on site

                  Inform nonprofits of the time commitment when they apply. This was not clear during the process. I'm still not sure if I needed to be there every day or just a few hours. Is it possible to communicate via email and Skype for those that cannot be on site the entire weekend? Or does someone from the nonprofit need to be there in person?

                  3 votes
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                    1 comment  ·  Admin →
                  • Cafepress and other "quick wins"

                    Create a list of tools/sites/features for developers, project leads, and charities that are "quick wins" for adding to their project roll-outs. For us, our quick wins included: Create a Cafe Press Basic site (no cost) using the new branding logo (fancier/CSS'd storefront versions available for about $60 per year). Create letterhead/envelope/business cards in MS Word templates using the new logo. Add mailboxes and aliased email addresses to the domain (requires receiving a list of viable names/candidates/forwarding emails from the charity). I'm sure other groups had other quick wins that aren't plug-in or add-on specific to a given software.

                    1 vote
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                    • Provide a list of common CMS plugins that charities could use

                      For those charities that are using CMS systems, such as WordPress or Drupal, it would be nice to have lists of plugins that are useful and recommended for Non-Profits. Since noone on our team was proficient with the CMS we used, we spent a surprising amount of time searching for quality plugins.
                      I imagine common ones might be for social media integration, donate buttons, contact us forms, seo, etc.

                      10 votes
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                      • Pre-event themes

                        I was a fly on the wall in a discussion between Kelley and Ryan about setting up some give camp branded Wordpress themes before the event to make it easier to create new websites or migrate existing ones.

                        I think this is a great idea. It would have been nice to migrate our project to a new theme time-permitting... and provides ongoing support for NPOs since we'd be maintaining those themes year to year.

                        1 vote
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                        • Video Workshops

                          Have some youtube like video workshops running on a loop to introduce or enhance peoples understanding of a technology. And publish a schedule for it, or add more as needed. Maybe this can be set up in a dedicated area.

                          I found Ryan Suttons WP session on Friday night to be extremely helpful. More of those would be great, but videos would also be great.

                          2 votes
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                          • Post session achievements roster

                            I know I was brain fried by the time presentations came around. I'd love to be able to see the roster of all the projects accomplished with click throughs to any that are publicly viewable, all from one location

                            6 votes
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                              1 comment  ·  Admin →
                            • Develop project lead guides

                              Develop a set of "So you're a project lead..." type guides/spec sheets recommending approaches for different types of projects (web site, database, etc) including questions to ask, tech decision tree guides, and so on.

                              3 votes
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                              • Mandate communication checkpoints

                                In the registration process, ensure the NPO knows they MUST respond to certain key confirmations they'll receive during the course of things, in a timely fashion. Thus, if NPO X doesn't respond to the "You've been chosen!" email within, say, a week, they get dropped to the bottom of the wait list. If they don't register a key decisionmaker as attending, unless provisions are otherwise made, by 2 weeks prior to the camp, they also get dropped down...etc.

                                1 vote
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                                • Boot Camp Web Skills Workshops

                                  We had a couple reoccurring needs for short overviews of key topics this weekend. We should have a track of 'bootcamp' type workshops that the non-profit workers (or anyone can attend) like:
                                  SEO Basics, Constant Contact, PayPal, Intro to Drupal, Into to Wordpress, Registering domains, Hosting Service providers and options...

                                  I'd volunteer to draw up a suggested series of workshops to bring a noob into the fold...

                                  5 votes
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                                  • Allow people to opt into an email list...

                                    I only found out about the conference last minute and would have preferred to receive a reminder email vs. monitoring twitter. Aware of spam sensitivity, can we have an opt in mailing list?

                                    3 votes
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                                      1 comment  ·  Admin →
                                    • Non-Profit Decision Maker

                                      In the application/instructions, Give Camp should make it clear that a single authorized non-profit decision maker should be in attendance for essentially the entire weekend. This should not be a surprise to them.

                                      2 votes
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                                        1 comment  ·  Admin →
                                      • Connect Project Managers with Nonprofits 2 weeks before GiveCamp

                                        I was able to connect with my nonprofit ~1 week before GiveCamp, which was just enough time to discover a different approach/solution was required. We managed to get 5 stories into the backlog to that end, but another week would have be very, very useful.

                                        9 votes
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                                          1 comment  ·  Admin →
                                        • Provide On-Site servers.

                                          The Dreamhost issue caused several projects to stall. It would be beneficial have servers on-site to house the projects. Virtual machines would do the trick, so that LAMP or Windows Machines could be built.

                                          7 votes
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                                            1 comment  ·  Admin →
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