The year 2020 became the year of moving everything online – including events. And Deviniti was no exception. We had a long history of organizing international conferences, summits, and meet-ups and we weren’t going to surrender without a fight. No matter the challenge, we wanted to face it head-on and not give in to the circumstances. In this article, we’ll show you how we switched to online conferences, and what were the results of this decision.
There was no debate – we were not going to cancel our plans and events. Our tradition of knowledge sharing during international conferences was to be upheld, no matter what. So these questions became irrelevant: should we even try to organize any conferences? Should we share our knowledge in such troubling times? The big question was now: how to do it?
How to maintain the level of participation and activity for each guest, when we’re not in the same place, there’s no room for socializing and we have to stare at our laptops the whole day?
How to make the event exciting, how to entertain people while giving an in-depth presentation on technical issues?
How to squeeze in so many presenters who wanted to take part in our conferences, when it was scheduled to be held offline?
Those were some of the challenges we faced, and this is what we did to answer each and every question regarding organizing online events.
How we picked the right tool(s)?
First step – the tool. Our biggest priority while deciding on the tool was to keep the essence of Jira Day 2019. We were looking not only for particular features but mostly for a system to recreate as much of Jira Day 2019 as possible. Our goal was to create a certain feel of an offline conference while being online. Each guest had to be able to interact with presenters and other guests, have business or technical conversations, small chats, etc.
Jira Day is not just another conference. It’s not just experts talking to you from a stage. Last year, it took place at the National Stadium in Warsaw. A huge venue, where we had a place for everything, from keynote speeches, through small presentations to one-on-one sessions, and a lounge for mixing and relaxing. Is it even possible to do this online?
After many tests and deliberations, we concluded one tool would not do the trick, therefore we decided on two: one dedicated to the conference part and a second one for all the one-on-one sessions, for socializing, discussing technical issues, or sharing knowledge.
The first tool we chose, dedicated to hold the conference, was ClickMeeting. It allowed us to have almost 3000 guests from all around the world, more than 40 presenters with live presentations, AMA sessions, tutorials, and expert panels. ClickMeeting also made it easy to communicate with all of the attendees and coordinate presenters from all around the world. We also decided the conference will have one host, who will be the bridge between attendees and presenters, to make the whole conference as personal as possible.
The second tool we chose was Grape. Grape became the chatting platform where we could exchange thoughts, ask questions, and, most importantly, feel that we were a part of the event community. The chat assured us there would be the perfect place for discussions during the event, a place for networking, and even (we hoped) making friends. And the cooperation was so fruitful, we decided to partner with Grape! You can find out more about it here.
How it turned out?
Jira Day Remote Edition became an instant success. It became the biggest Jira online conference of 2020. It was 4 days long, and each day we had more than 1800 attendees (almost 3000 overall). We prepared not only presentations, but also had 32 expert talks, 11 AMAs, 3 online training sessions, and more!
We decided that the participants had to be able to interact with the presenters and each other. That was essential for us, and it proved the right decision. We had also time for everything on our agenda. For example, Ask Me Anything sessions were fully dedicated to answering questions related to Jira, Jira Software, Jira Service Desk, Marketplace apps, project management in Jira, incident management with OpsGenie & StatusPage, migrations & upgrades, CMDB, and asset management. We had experts from Deviniti prepared for everything from system-level topics, application engineering, Jira customization, and even developing solutions based on the Atlassian stack.
But even selecting the right tools and having great presenters was not enough for us. As we stressed before, we put all our chips on hosting. The event was hosted by Julian Jeliński (who’s writing this article, so don’t judge me for not being modest 😉 ), who has thousands of hours of expertise in hosting events online and offline. And as Dzmitry Hryb stated, Julian:
kept the morale high between the talks and chatted with the participants. He brought a bit of fun to the seriousness of the conference by introducing the Movie T-shirt Day and the Weird Mug Day (actually, he had a different weird mug every day).
We even organized an afterparty (called Lava Party) in a Zoom meeting room as a bonus, where we could relax, talk about silly things, and do the things, strangers do on Zoom: we showcased our pets. If you’d like to learn more about the event, you can read the relation on our blog.
After Jira Day
Jira Day was a huge success, but also the testing ground. Those four days became the experience we badly needed. Because the year was not over, and we had our eyes on another event – Atlassian Day: Baltic Edition.
This conference was to follow in the footsteps of other one-day events we organized before, such as Jira Tour or Jira Service Desk Day. This time, we wanted to focus on the Baltic region, sharing our knowledge, helping companies in the region, and discussing the upcoming recession. We had the format prepared, we had AMA sessions planned, we had the host ready and the tool all figured out.
The theme of this special, online version of Atlassian Day was “mastering the Atlassian tools”. We planned to discuss the guidelines for business agility and how Atlassian can answer companies’ current needs. We prepared practical tips on handling work processes and had the very best of international Atlassian experts to help our guests harness Atlassian tools. And again, this event attracted a huge number of attendees, as we had more than 500 people registered.
2020 was a tough year, but we came out of it more experienced and better equipped to deal with anything 2021 might throw our way. That’s why we can officially invite you to take part in… Jira Day 2021 not only as a guest but maybe as a… speaker?
You can be a part of Jira Day 2021! If you are an Atlassian products user and you’re ready to share your experience with people from all over the world, you might be the perfect candidate. So don’t wait and fill in the application form.