Wednesday is always an interesting day at TechEd. On Tuesday you hear a bunch of "we have this thing now, yeah!" at the keynote. But Wednesday is when you go to the sessions to find out that all that keynote stuff is fine and dandy BUT... Aka The Technical Hangover.
At breakfast, I sat next to two gentlemen who were speaking French but after a few sentences I had an odd feeling that I actually understand what they're talking about (and my French does not go farther than je ne mange pas six jours). Apparently "ABAP in Cloud", "on premise", and "ECC" are the international Sapanese words. 🙂
Obviously many attendees also suffered from the hangover of the real kind, otherwise I'm not sure how to explain surprisingly light attendance at Former Member's session CPL145 "Journey to the Cloud: Extending SAP S/4HANA Cloud at Plaut IT Australia". Well, maybe the "Australia" part confused the predominantly American attendees and they thought there would be koalas and kangaroos involved and there is just no way they'd get a budget for such things. Who knows?
Anyway, it was a great session about a real project, warts and all. Exactly the kind of session that we keep demanding at TechEd but somehow forget to attend. By comparison, the next session S4H220 "Implementation Patterns for Core Data Services Views in SAP S/4HANA" was jam-packed but barely 10 minutes and 2 slides in I had a sudden urge to leave for an alternative appointment. Let's vote with our feet for what we want to see more of.
The hands-on session S4H267 "End-to-End Extensibility of Analytics in SAP S/4HANA" turned out to be a flop as well, unfortunately. Based on that, I'd like to make some suggestions for those planning the hands-on sessions.
If your session has a prerequisite knowledge then mention it in the session catalog. If you don't do that then consider that at least some people might have not a faintest idea of what they will be doing.
Get rid of the laptops with non-standard keyboard layout. Good thing I remembered from last year about the Ctrl / Fn keys. Seriously, what the heck, Lenovo?
It is confusing enough dealing with an unfamiliar laptop (see above), new UI, new technology, etc. The last thing the attendees need is a confusing set of instructions. Get your steps in order and provide very simple instructions with a clear sequence. Starting with a speech "well, you can skip the steps from 1.32 through 1.169 and maybe then also skip 2.47 through 2.96, of course you could do them but it's not really needed but if you do then you might have a problem with part 4, section B and in that case just skip part 1 altogether" makes one want to suggest moving the whole session to a nearest bar. As they say in Russia, "you can't figure this out without half a liter" [of vodka].
In the hands-on session, people usually want to create something, not just run a glorified manual demo. So give them something meaningful to do. Extra points if it's also fun.
In the afternoon I was turned away from a CodeJam session because it was "bring your own laptop" and I foolishly chose to drag around a bag full of souvenirs instead of a laptop.
Speaking of which, here is The Cutest Swag of the Day award recipient - a penguin from IBM:
graham.robinson also got a short stick from the session scheduling department as his session S4H245 "abapGit: Modernizing ABAP Development" was at 5.45 pm, when the attendees already rush to get themselves hangover for the next day. Nevertheless it was very full. Good thing I arrived few minutes earlier and got a chance to sit in a chair next to Graham while tweeting at him and then watching him tweet back. I guess this is the modern day social life.
We were later joined by Capra and designated herder bfeeb8ed7fa64a7d95efc21f74a8c135 and, even though there was no Mexican wave, the session was great and followed by a lively Q&A.
By the way, if you are registered for the event, both Graham's and Simon's, as well as other ASUG sessions have presentation files in the TechEd Agenda Builder.
Tomorrow evening I'm traveling home and hopefully 5-hour flight will provide enough reflection time for the last TechEd blog (to be published later). For now, I leave you with some random pictures.
The Amazing RoboGraham is getting ready for abapGit session
The attendees are strategically taking the aisle seats near the session escape route
in the mostly empty room
Riddle of the day: considering that 5 men did not fit into the picture and there is one woman behind the camera, what is an average percentage of the female attendees at TechEd?