So you want to go to AstriCon? Step 1 – Help your boss see the value

While some of us may get to do what we want, when we want, with no real accountability to anyone, the vast majority of us probably have a supervisor, line manager, boss, etc. that we need to convince if we are to get to do anything that looks like it might cost some money.

AstriCon is THE Asterisk event of the year. Nowhere else in the world will you find so much great information about Asterisk, so many tutorials and case studies, or such a large gathering of key community members (from developers to power users). You, of course, already know this – but the person holding the money may need to be enlightened before they will approve the trip!

I thought I would share a few ideas that might help you make that case – to aid your boss in seeing the immense value of your visit to AstriCon, rather than assuming it’s some kind of geeky boondoggle (yes, I said “boondoggle!”).

Rather than a step-by-step guide, treat what is below as a menu of approaches that you can choose from to convince your boss to approve the trip. You may need to fine tune these to your specific situation, but I hope they prove useful in getting you to AstriCon.

Before I jump into these top tips, please note that I in no way condone misleading your boss. Everything discussed below is aimed at helping reach the goals of your organization. And, hopefully, you’ll see how your trip to AstriCon aligns with your organization’s goals in terms of reducing costs, extending functionality, etc.  Let’s get started!

1. The project approach
The very same boss who needs to approve your AstriCon visit is probably the person who is responsible for a project or projects that Asterisk is going to help deliver. Highlighting the fact that your visit to AstriCon is going to get that project completed better/faster/cheaper (delete as appropriate) is sure to boost your case. The key here is to drive home the fact that you will attend sessions relevant to the required Asterisk functionality, and that you will hear from and meet with people that have already solved the challenges you face.

2. The ‘Can we really afford NOT to go?’ approach
We both know there is a ticket price and travel costs associated with attending AstriCon. We also know that these costs (I actually prefer the terms ‘investments’) are minimal compared to the benefits that will be reaped from spending time with large number of top Asterisk developers, users and value-added service providers  - all the people that come to AstriCon. You can probably even calculate a solid ROI (return on investment) to show that your visit to AstriCon is worth its weight in gold! At the very least, it will reduce your costs in terms of achieving the functionality you need more cost-effectively that any alternative that might be out there.

3. The ‘giving back’ approach
Occasionally, you will find a boss that already understands what a huge bundle of money Asterisk has already saved your organization, and has maybe even encouraged you to give back to the project in terms of bug reports, documentation or code contributions (admittedly, this is a very rare boss, indeed). This boss may even have asked you already if you would like to go to AstriCon. If they have not, then it is your responsibility to ask the boss if you can attend AstriCon in order to share your experiences – as a speaker or as an audience member who is able to contribute.

4. The ‘you should come too’ approach
AstriCon attendance grows year over year, and one of the reasons is that those who have attended the previous year show up with a coworker, a boss – or both the next time. The value derived from other people in your organization attending AstriCon goes well beyond any current project, and usually includes the realization that Asterisk could be used to fulfill more of the requirements of a certain project, or even projects or products where the use of Asterisk had not yet been considered. Not only will your boss and/or coworker(s) begin to understand what you have been raving about, but your own credibility at work will be further enhanced as they hear what you’ve been saying all along is now confirmed by lots of other people.

By the way, we now have a special price that allows 4 people from the same organization to attend at a SUPER price, so it is even a better value for you all! (Look for the Diamond Team offer when you register!)

Of course, getting to AstriCon is only the beginning of the process… You’re going to want to give your boss updates while you’re there (if your boss is not there with you). It will be very beneficial to file some kind of report or update for your boss and coworkers about all the great things you learned at AstriCon – particularly those that pertain to high profile projects or tasks.

So, there you have it. A few ideas to help you help your boss do the right thing :-)

I have stopped short of actually writing the request for you, but I hope one or more of the ideas above will be useful as you construct your case.

See you at AstriCon! Register Now

About the author

David works with the Worldwide Asterisk Community for Digium, and is an Asterisk enthusiast in addition to being a Chartered Engineer, globally experienced trainer and public speaker. His experience includes Air Traffic Control communications, Wireless Local Loop, Mobile Networks, Computer Telephony, Voice over IP and Asterisk specifically. In addition to many web articles, David's publications include Asterisk 1.4: The Professional's Guide (Packt, co-author) and the contribution of a chapter (on Internationalisation) to Asterisk: The Definitive Guide (O'Reilly). David is a frequent speaker at Astricon (THE annual global Asterisk event, where David often runs an Asterisk-based contest), AsterConference Asia (David has also MC'd at this event), IT Expo (East and West) and a number of corporate events. He has also spoken at numerous other conferences - VoIP Developer, Speech World, CT Expo and UC Expo to name a few. David has also delivered Presentation Skills training and coaches Executives on Public Speaking.

3 Responses to “So you want to go to AstriCon? Step 1 – Help your boss see the value”

  1. Omid Mohajerani

    Hi David ,

    Great Help for me :) Im writing to my boss now . I hope I can see you in asterisk community in Astricon

  2. Tommy

    Dear Dave

    It is your good points though as our boss will never approve as our organization HQ made corporate decision to choose cisco as their damn standard. no way for me ! I will miss you all waiting for photos to see/feel.

    regards
    Tommy

  3. Numan Khan

    Thank you sir David, these are valuable information. This year it’s not possible to attend but upcoming years I would be a part of this wonderful event.

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