Sitting comfortably in the Amsterdam airport trying to decide if I want to get coffee, or try to sleep some more. I think coffee will win out. Had an uneventful flight, and looking forward to the next leg. I was able to work on my presentations, and generally organize myself for the conference. One thing that will be interesting, I suspect, will be the international quality of the attendees. There will be 13 countries represented, most of them African. While I will endeavor to speak slowly and clearly, I wonder whether there will end up being general comcepts, or at least jargon, that isn't going to translate well. Clearly, I've been in a western business environment for a long time, and am used to interacting with people who have been in similar environments. This will likely be quite different. Will terms like ROI, needs analysis, and governance mean anything? They're not hard to explain, but I think we'll all have to be conscious of our audience in new ways.
The focused time on the plane also helped me to crystallize some of the goals of the conference. Here's what I came up with:
1. To get to know each other, and to establish strong and long-lasting working relationships
2. To come to a mutual understanding about where IT at the IRC is going, and generally how to get there
3. To update each other on what projects we’re working on, and to gain an understanding of how these projects fit into the larger goals
4. To share specific technical knowledge
5. To have fun!
I think this should set a good tone, and if we come close to these, it'll be a huge success. Now, off to coffee.