Fusion 15 is the premier ITSM conference – Part HDI conference, part ITSM conference, and new this year, DevOps Fusion. So much opportunity; so little time. Without a plan it’s easy to miss out on something important!.

Fusion 15Here’s my top 5 tips to make the most of your conference experience:

1. Install and use the Fusion 15 App

The Fusion 15 app is available for both Apple and Android, and is loaded with tons of great stuff:

  • Full conference agenda, session listing and speaker information
  • Personal conference agenda builder
  • Attendee listing, with social media style ‘Activity Feed’
  • Resources, downloads, maps, session evaluations, FAQ, and more!

Explore the conference agenda, use the personal agenda builder to ensure you attend the sessions that best meet your interests. Use the attendee Activity Feed to interact with speakers and attendees.

2. Network, network, network

Fusion 15 is the destination of choice for Service Management professionals. This is your chance to talk face to face with the movers and shakers of our industry. It’s also a great opportunity to meet with a host of attendees who are working hard day in, day out making this stuff work in their companies. You can learn something from everyone you meet.

  • Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself
  • Ask questions and listen to what people have to share
  • Don’t treat speakers like celebrities. Ask questions and get to know them, but do be respectful of their busy schedules and committments.
  • Keep it professional. Don’t be a creepy stalker.

3. Visit the Expo and ask vendors questions

We all use tools and buy products. The Expo is a great opportuity to check out lots of products and talk with the vendors. Most of them understand that attendees are turned off by the hard sell.

  • Ask lots of questions. Most vendors staff their booths with highly knowledgable people who can answer real questions about their products.
  • Stick around for the product demo. There’s not that many places where you’ll get to see this many products all in one room.
  • Don’t swag and run. Wait. Who am I kidding? Swag and run. If it’s that cool, you’ll use it, making you a walking advertisement for the vendor. They win either way. It works.

4. Make a todo list

Fusion is a mountain top experience of the first order. You’re going to have lots of brilliant ideas that you’ll want to try when you get back home. So many great ideas, in fact, that you’ll easily forget many of them before you get back home.

  • Create a list of ideas – use Evernote (or other app), or good ole pen and paper. Ideally, jot them down as they occur to you, but at a minimum, update your list when you get back to your room each night.
  • Add a couple bullets to list a quote, a thought, or a trigger to remind you of why you thought the idea was good.
  • Review the list each night, and make a point of gathering more information, or making new contacts in that area the next day.
  • When you get home, act on the top 3 items from your list that you think you can apply right away.

5. Attend a variety of sessions

I encourage you to be intentional about what sessions you attend – make sure you’re attending those sessions that are most applicable to the challenges you face. But… try to branch out and attend a variety of sessions. Not only is variety the spice of life, it’s benificial to see how the parts of ITSM fit together. This is where the agenda builder can help you see where you might be over investing in one area.

  • Prioritize sessions in areas of interest
  • Look for speakers on those topic with different backgrounds (consultant, practitioner, author, etc)
  • Schedule some sessions on topics that compliment your areas of interest (i.e. Incident Management, Customer Service, Future of the Service Desk – if you’re a Service Desk professional)
  • If you can fit it in, take in a session or two on something completely new to you.

That’s my Big 5. What would you add?

If you’re interested in IT Change Management, please consider attending my session Basic IT Change Management: A Practical Multiphase Approach, Wednesday at 10:15.

Hope to see you there. Feel free to follow me on twitter (@gtsanker), or in the Fusion 15 App. And don’t forget to stop me and say ‘hi’ in person!

Photo Credit: Cliff Beckwith via Compfight cc