Autograph Hound's Blah Blah Blog

Friday, December 9, 2011

#SDCC tips Constraints – it's NOT too early to plan

This isn’t a complete list of constraints but it’s something to think about and help you prepare.
Over the course of these posts, I’ll be harping on some points endlessly.  That’s part of the methodology.  Preparation is only worth what you put into it and what you get out of it. You can be grossly underprepared and you can be overprepared.  Both will cause you to your waste time and money.
Constraints and risks can be aligned but risks are things you can manage and constraints are things you have limited or no control over.  These are obstacles you need to be aware of and work around. Your Risk Planning should make you aware of these things. Your Mitigation Plan will help with workarounds. But remember you can’t change the laws of physics.  
Passes to the SDCC – Yes that is a constraint besides being a risk.  The constraint is the limited number of passes to the event, whether you are an attendee, press, or special guest.
Flights – Again, a limit to the number of seats on the plane. You have no control on the amount of seats on the plane and no control over the airlines to add more flights for the convention.  Don’t pack yourself into a box and have Fed Ex deliver you.
Hotel Rooms – while more rooms are added to the downtown area every year, there is a limit.  Your access to these rooms is also limited as you need to  work through a travel agency and not the individual hotels.
Budget – Once you have collected, borrowed, saved, or begged the monies for your budget – it is fairly static.  Your ability to add funds to the budget at the last minute is limited – unless you have a nice rich uncle and please introduce him to me…better yet, introduce me to his rich wife.
Time – the convention has a start date and an end date.  Your plans need to be completed in time to attend the show.  It doesn’t help to raise the money after the convention ended or getting a flight into San Diego the week after the convention.  But that’s okay, you’re not late, you’re just early for next time.
Schedule – the convention itself had a constraint on the amount of the panels they can host based on the available rooms and the duration of the show.
Panels – there is a seating capacity. So if you get to SDCC and get to the convention center early, you still might not get to see the panel you have been waiting all year to see because the Fire Marshall closed the room.  Not fun.
Collectibles/Autographs – many of the items people want are limited edition or rationed. Once they have passed out all of the Harry Potter Warner Brothers bags, there are gone. After all of the raffle tickets for the Hasbro toys have been given out, there isn’t any more. Same thing happens with autographs.  They won’t make one for you. Even if you are cute.  Even if you start crying.
Parking – there is a limited number of downtown parking spaces and the last few years they have been preselling them.
Health/Stamina – Once the show starts you will be wearing down your body.  Your constraint is how well you treat/train your body in the months leading up to the show.
Your own flexibility – SDCC is large and frustrating and fun and stressing. You will not accomplishment everything you want. You need to remain (or become) flexible in your plans. Whether finding another panel or collectible or eating at a different restaurant or getting up earlier than planned, you need to be able to adapt.
Restaurant space – a lot of people go to SDCC.  Many of those people eat at the same time. The restaurants fill up and you need to wait.
As I said, constraints are things you don’t control but you can work around.  Planning in advances helps to limit the damage or avoid the constraint all together.
Planning and thinking about this now allows you to gather information and work out a good stratagem.  The worse time to react to a problem is when you are reacting to a problem. You solution might be awesome but it’s taking you away from the project or away from the things you want to be doing.


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