CrisisCamp Miami, 1/23/10

Were you at CrisisCamp Miami on 1/23? Were you one of the giving people who filled the room to overflowing capacity? [View a slideshow of photos from Alex de Carvalho.]

If you were, please take a moment to share a thought or two below. How did you hear about it? What inspired you to attend? What was the experience like for you? What would you like to see next? …Anything you’d like to say, please add your voice. And if you have a link you’d like to include to something you’re working on related to crisis relief, feel free to include it. (For spam purposes, comments with more than 2 links included will be held for moderation.) So speak up! : ) We were so pleased that you came, and with the work that was done. Now, tell us what YOU thought….

9 Responses to “Voices of the Day”

  1. ryan teixeira says:

    I heard about the event from Patrick Barbanes. I wasn’t sure how I would contribute. One thing I know about events like this is to show up and let things take their course.

    I did a video of Benny Salas from the Healing For Haiti Now project which I published. They have a warehouse in Pembroke Pines which serves as a drop off point for any supplies to Haiti.

    Here is the video. Please share.

  2. pbarbanes says:

    Here’s a comment from an attendee at CrisisCamp DC (Washington, D.C.), posted on the CrisisCommons blog. I’m including it here in it’s entirety, as good feedback that could be useful to any CrisisCamp:

    A Project Manager (PM) / coder’s view of Crisis Camp DC
    I was at Crisis Camp DC on Saturday, January 21; In real life I am a PM that manages more than 20 people working on multiple continents and in multiple time zones. At Crisis Camp DC I returned to coding in order to support the effort.

    What follows are some of my impressions.

    First, I was really impressed by the energy there. The line “We are not here to have a cathartic moment; we are here to work!” stuck with me and – I think – with the people who where there. The meeting started with devastating tales of loss from Haitian engineers who drove up from North Carolina to participate and it was a reminder why we were there but folks did not bog down in the moment.

    The facilities were nice, coffee flowed plentifully WiFi was a little slow but considering the number of people using it not a problem (Thanks NPR!). Pizza and snacks worked well as did the collection process. We were also able to mostly break up into reasonably separate space by project however a little more room would have been nice. If more people had showed up it may have gotten difficult though I understand that there were plans to go to the other floors if needed.

    Getting started was a little problematic. I get that people tend to be late however I’m not sure that the tell people to get here at 9:00 AM, start around 9:30 plan is the way to deal with it. It appears that there were operational co-coordinators, perhaps they could have dealt with stragglers. Also it appeared that someone else (Kim I think) should have been running the start but she was sidelined by others there – the confusion at start up may have been lessened if you was able to run her agenda (I assume that she had one if it was her task to do that…). You might also want to think about dealing with the coders and technically savvy separately after the introduction. They need different information from PMs when selecting a project.

    Maybe we need the PMs to do their song and dance twice; once for each population. Perhaps they start with the project description, let the “pink tags” self select and then move on to the programming tasks and skills that they are looking for help with allowing the “blue tags” to start sorting. It was intermittently apparent what sort of coding skills PMs were looking for.

    Watching the PMs operate there was another dynamic that appeared to be coming into play as well. Some of the PM appeared to be people who did that task professionally however others appeared to be technically gifted coders with an idea. For the second group the work of managing people and tasks appeared to be difficult and undesired. It would be good to assign / request support for that group of people, particularly if the project in question appears to be (immediately or long term) particularly helpful. Knowing what needs to be done and how to share and track tasks are different skills, it would be bad for a project to languish due to lack of the latter.

    A few thoughts on program management as opposed to project management; while I believe that almost all of the projects have merit it seems obvious that some are going to be more helpful than others. The more helpful projects should get some program level management support in order to ensure as much as possible that they are brought to fruition. Some of that care and feeding should include operational support when someone is trying to make a decision as to what project they would like to join.

    Many of us who showed up just wanted to help and are not close enough to disaster relief to know what the best ideas are. I get that self selecting teams are a goal as well as continued enthusiasm so we don’t want to do things that turn people off but help those who are looking for help making a decision at the same time you help the most important projects – a win/win situation.

    Hey and founders and organizers; please don’t take any of what I have said above as negative criticism. In the week and a half that you have been doing this, you have triggered a change in the way that people see their ability to effect things when a disaster strikes. They can see themselves as providers of direct relief rather than sources for emergency funds. This is due to your efforts. You should be proud of that every day. I know that I am profoundly proud of you and amazed at what has happened.


  3. I’m positive everyone had a productive time at #CCMiami; I’m not technical, but I’m glad my restaurant was able to help out and keep all those creative minds fueled for an afternoon.

    This is definitely something we enjoyed participating in, and we hope all the other #CrisisCamps worldwide are as successful!

  4. This is the most interesting blog I have encountered on this topic. Lots to consider. I’m going to show my Mom. It will absolutely start a totally new area to talk about.

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