Last year I began the task of setting up my First users group. I wanted to do this because I wanted to find like minded professionals that shared my passion for PowerShell. With a great degree of success I’ve been able to apply some of these tips and tricks to setup two separate PowerShell users group (@ctexpug and @azpowershell / @azposh).
There were two folks that helped me a great deal and gave some very good advice on how to best setup a users group and what you’d need to do, Teresa Wilson aka @scriptingwife and Jacob Benson aka @vhusker.
Here is a summary of the things they suggested.
- Find a good venue. This is the most difficult thing to find. What I’ve found to be successful is to use a Microsoft Store in your area and ask them if they have the room and time to house your session there. Kudo’s to Aditi Satam @aditisatam for this idea (she leads the @ctexpug user group) . Other folks have held sessions at Churches, their place of business or at a sponsor location. All of these work, will just take time to find a location. Do not think this is a trivial task as it is one of the most important and can be the hardest thing to do.
- Pick a time on the calendar (once a month every two weeks, once a quarter) or whatever works for you and have it every time the same time. If you are consistent with when you pick to have your Users group people know when to expect that the next session will happen. Also by setting the time every month or whatever your interval is people can plan important other things in their schedules.
- Find a means to send regular emails to your users. Not everyone uses Social Media or likes social media. But nearly everyone has an email address. If you find a good emailing program such as Mailchimp you can use that to mail your users your events. Kudos to @vhusker for this insightful item.
- Pick a calendaring tool to let your users know when the event will be. something they can sign up with. I currently use EventBrite but other tools like Meetup work too. Key is pick something that works for you and stick to it if you can.
- If you like social media then Jump on Twitter you can find lots of speakers and lots of help from others that have been through the process of setting up a group.
- Be persistent in asking for speakers.
- Attend a Powershell summit, you can come back with lots of topics for you to learn and also to help others in your community learn.
- Find other IT pros and user groups in your area. Some of them for sure will use PowerShell and can help speaking or other things.
- Don’t be afraid to speak at your own users group. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn.
- Remember one of the key things to forming a group is allowing folks to collaborate and share there stories. I like to think of creative ways to allow people to show off their scripts.
- Jim Christopher @beefarino does a ShellandTell
- You can do a Hackathon- just make sure you have some constructive things to Hack on.
- You can use the powershell puzzles to get everyone involved.
- Don’t limit yourself to local speakers. Mike Robbins @mikefrobbins does his session every month online Mississippi PowerShell UsersGroup.
If you know of other things that help in forming your user group I’ll be happy to add them.