How We Picked the Admin Track for Dreamforce 2019

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The Salesforce Admin community delivered again!

On July 15, 2019, we asked you to submit your best ideas for presentations at Dreamforce 2019 in the Admin Track.
And we did that with a completely new submission app that, for the first time, gave you complete transparency into what had been submitted. Gone were the days of clicking the submit button and hoping your info went through. Now, you could see exactly what we could see. You can read more about the app here.

Many of you submitted ideas, and now, you probably have a few questions, like: Why did my session get picked? Why did my session get “Not Accepted”? What the heck is the “Waitlist”? We love transparency at Salesforce, so here is the rundown on how the Admin Track came together.

Getting started

Our road to Dreamforce 2019 started back in November 2018 during our DF18 review. We wanted a more robust submission app. So our internal Admin and Developer Relations team spent the winter putting together requirements, and by spring we were alpha testing a new app. We piloted the app internally for TrailheaDX, made improvements, and launched it for Dreamforce this year.

Prior to launching our Call for Presentations, we recruited a diverse group of 60+ Salesforce employees from various departments across the company to be session owners and submission reviewers. They know the role of the Salesforce Admin very well, and most have created Admin content themselves. These 60 people not only helped review content but will also work with presenters to bring Admin/Architect/Developer content to life at Dreamforce this year.

The numbers

By the time we closed submissions on August 16, 2019, we had received more than 1,400 Admin Track submissions—that’s 60% more than we received last year! And between Admin/Architect/Developer Track, we had more than 2,700 submissions! That is a staggering number of ideas… In fact, that is so many ideas, we could host an entire Dreamforce event!

Here is the breakdown:

  • 1,435 Total Submissions
    • 603 Breakout
    • 832 Theater
  • 149 Available Dreamforce slots

The last number is key: There were only 82 breakout and 67 theater slots available for Admin Track this year.

In case you’re wondering, we also track submissions by day, and we saw a huge uptick the last few days the CFP was open.

The process

One process we aimed to dramatically improve from last year was how sessions were reviewed. We wanted to make sure that as the number of submissions increased, so did our ability to review sessions. The Admin/Architect/Dev Track has stakeholders from across the company, and we needed to ensure that our method allowed for everyone to be heard. As part of our new internal app, we wanted to make session review fun and easy. So we created a custom page that allowed any of our stakeholders to review sessions based on their time commitment. We also created a complete dashboard so that each of the Track Leaders could see a burndown chart of how many sessions were left to review, and how the review process was progressing.

The results were amazing! This year’s submissions were the most reviewed sessions in the history of the Admin call for presentations. After 14 days of session review, we knew the following results:

  • Every session had been reviewed by at least 2 stakeholders, with some sessions receiving as many as 33 stakeholder reviews.
  • More than 28,900 reviews were completed of the submitted sessions across all tracks.
  • Each stakeholder in the review process had access to the full submission information, including presenter information, in order to make an educated decision about the session.

Selecting sessions

After 14 days of review and 28,900 completed reviews, our Track Leaders began the process of looking at sessions that received the highest feedback rating. There were so many great submissions, which means competition was intense. We slotted as many top-scoring sessions as we could first, and then reviewed the submissions in each category to fill out the mix.

In years past, the overwhelming feedback from presenters was that they were overbooked. Dreamforce is a place for you to learn, connect, and have fun! So we did our best to accept great content without overbooking our speakers to make sure everyone gets the opportunity to enjoy all that Dreamforce has to offer.

In addition to looking at feedback for every session, our Track Leaders also carefully reviewed your speaker profiles. In cases where our Track Leaders had questions about content in the profile or the profile was missing information and incomplete, we contacted you for additional information to ensure we were making the most educated decision possible.

Here is how the session mix ended up:

  • 70 Breakout sessions were chosen (we need to account for repeat sessions, etc.)
  • 59 Theater sessions were chosen (we need to account for repeat sessions, etc.)

Unique sessions by type:

Unique sessions by topic:

If you weren’t chosen this year…

First of all, don’t be sad! The competition was intense. After all, we received more than 1,400 Admin Track submissions! We still want you to present your content. We are so excited about what you submitted that we want to find a way to feature your ideas in our other outlets, especially webinars and blog posts on admin.salesforce.com. Because we have all of your submission data already, we may contact you after Dreamforce to follow up with you about other avenues for your content. Of course, we always suggest that you continue to grow your idea—start writing blog posts or using it to create presentations for your local user group. Just because we didn’t feature your content at Dreamforce this year doesn’t mean it’s not valuable to the community.

THANK YOU for being the best, most inspiring, and dedicated community!
#AwesomeAdmin

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