Running a conference for planner-schedulers involves many of the skills used by these practitioners in helping their project teams build.
We have a hard deadline each year – no extension of time for delays tolerated. We have a set budget – once we go live we cannot raise our registration or other fees. We have limited resources. We have many third-party providers over whom we have limited influence. We have had vendors who do not always provide that which was promised. Yet our show does go on. On-time. Generally within budget.
We typically do not consider agile scheduling within the construction world. And yet new ideas which may provide benefit to our end users often occur.
This is true value engineering – it may cost a little more for a big benefit, or we may be able to remove an unwarranted expense. For our 2020 conference at Disney World, we realized that a small additional expense may provide big benefit to attendees and so we have now mimicked the Disney Magic Bus experience. If attendees let us know when they will be arriving by air, we group and schedule a bus from MCO, the airport, to our new B Resort hotel for free. All for a cost less than one more drink ticket each.
Why has no other conference we know of offered this service? (Why have we not thought of this before this our tenth conference?)
As for our program, it is Jan. 19-22, 2020, and your can read about it here. It will feature three full days of classes, with plenary keynotes, then six concurrent breakout sessions covering tracks for basic and advanced training in various software solutions, basic and advance theory, claims prevention and resolution and community discussion and debate.
Software Training and Recommended Practices
Software training is provided for Oracle, Deltek, Elecosoft, Phoenix, Microsoft, Spider Team, Phase Manager, PMA NetPoint, Micro Planner, and other solutions. The US GAO will present their latest Schedule and Agile Assessment Guides. AACE (Association for Advancement of Cost Engineers International) will present a keynote, discussion of the latest Recommended Practice for Forensic Analysis, and a mid-year meeting of their Planning & Scheduling subcommittee to discuss and debate other recommended practices. Our program is accredited by AACE, PMI and most model state for Professional Engineers for up to 24 PDH of continuing education.
Our annual Mock Trial and other session on interaction of Scheduling and Law are accredited by the Florida Bar (and several other state Bars) for up to 20 PDH of continuing education (including over 4 PDH for Ethics.) We schedule our speakers and presenters to provide a flow of information within a track, and attempt to avoid competing sessions on similar topics. We record many sessions to allow attendees to view those which are missed – or to later share with colleagues at home. Care of attendees – from getting off the incoming airline through the entire experience – also requires much scheduling efforts.
Welcome Reception, Happy Hour and Fun
Our Sunday welcome reception is timed for those arriving on Friday, Saturday or Sunday morning, and then to those flying in Sunday from the West Coast (or overseas), so we must budget extra to run a four-hour event. The Monday Happy Hour runs to 6:30 pm to mesh with the 7 pm dinner reservations we make for our attendees with our signature Dine with Five New Friends™ program. And after dinner for our late night Smoke & Mirrors (and cigars) Reception is from 830 pm to 11 pm (and often beyond). Our Tuesday Happy Hour may extend a few minutes beyond 6:30 pm to the schedule of busses to take our entire group to Disney EPCOT, where we have a private viewing area for dessert and drinks and the fireworks show, then extra jours to experience EPCOT rides.
And then back to our B Resort or to late late night at an after party at Disney Springs. We have a lot of planning for providing entertainment options. We have a number of breaking news announcements this year from our software solution providers. Oracle will highlight new offerings in Cloud Services and a new Lean + CPM product. Both Elecosoft (previously branded ASTA) and Deltek (Acumen and OpenPlan) have big announcements. Many of the other cloud and desktop solution providers have new products and services. What we Planning-Scheduling professionals can or must offer our stakeholders is now largely driven by what the software providers provide.
As Disney Imagineering has said (and given us permission to repeat),“this is the one conference where we may view and ‘kick the tires” of competing software solutions.”
Come join us at Disney World this Jan. 19-22, 2020 at Construction CPM Conference #10.