Going to SD West 2008 – a planning worksheet

March 1, 2008 2:37 pm

I have the good fortune to be able to attend SD West this year. I’ve heard people at work rave about this conference right in my backyard, and was lucky to get approval to go this year.

Unfortunately I’ve been so swamped with work (really exciting new stuff, too) that I haven’t been able to prepare at all. In other words I still have no idea about what sessions to go to. Argh. To add to that frustration, the SD West website doesn’t make it really easy to plan your days for maximum efficiency. Double Argh.

Here’s how I like to plan my attendance: I have an idea at a high level about what kind of sessions I’d like to focus on (in my case .NET and People, Process & Methods mostly). So I need to be able to filter all sessions by those high-level criteria. Next, I need to figure out which sessions in those high level tracks are available at what time and how they may conflict relative to how interesting they sound to me.

The information provided on the SD West website provides some ability to filter and search for sessions, but it doesn’t help you with detailed planning.

So I decided to spend a little time pulling down all sessions as an Excel sheet (which the site allows, thank goodness), and started to shape and mold the sheet to my needs. The result is available for you to use as well, in case you’re as late as I am: sdwest08_all.xlsx (update: rename this file to have an .xlsx suffix after downloading, WordPress changed the extension on me).
(I think I have all sessions in there, but I noticed that one session seemed to not be fully downloaded (a session with quotes in the description), so I added it back by hand. Maybe there are others missing too, but I think that was the only one.)

You’ll see all sessions sorted by time, color coded by time slot/event type (keynotes, birds-of-a-feather), color coded by track, and with filters on each column. I also added a priority column at the beginning to perhaps help making decisions if you change your mind while at the event.

And, yes, I will most likely be wearing my Geek Tie at the event (it has a Red Verbatim Store’n’Go USB memory stick and a gray CaseLogic case at the end).

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