The Dreamforce Developer Track 2019: How We Select Sessions

The Salesforce Developer community showed up in full force for our Dreamforce 2019 Call for Presentations. On July 15, 2019, we asked you to submit your best ideas for presenting at Dreamforce 2019 in the Developer Track. Straight out of the gate, we couldn’t refresh our dashboard fast enough to keep up with the submissions that were pouring in!

By the time we closed the CFP on August 15, 2019, we had received over 825 Developer Track submissions. This is actually down from last year by about a hundred sessions, but the Admin track saw a huge increase and for the first time ever we launched an Architect track.

So many of you shared your ideas, and you’re probably wondering what we do with them. Why did your session get picked? Why didn’t it? Here’s more info on how the Developer Track came together.

Your 2019 review panel

In order for a session to get on stage, there are two things that must happen:

  • Every session must get reviewed once.
  • Every session that goes to stage must be reviewed by an evangelist, product manager or both.

Alongside the product teams and the evangelism team we have a group of people who serve as our session owners. Those are the wonderful people who help manage the milestones to help speakers get prepared for show. Thanks to the help of our new CFP application, every session got reviewed multiple times – at times as many as thirty or forty times.

We can’t take all the submissions (but we wish we could)

Of course, we can only select as many sessions as Dreamforce can physically hold. For the Developer track, this turned out to be just over 200 sessions across 20-minute Theater and 40-minute Breakout formats. From that number we load balanced between the two things we know developers want:

  • Information about our platform directly from the engineering teams that build the products
  • Best practices from our passionate community based on their implementation experience

To achieve this, we allocated roughly half of our inventory for the product teams and the other half to be chosen from the Call for Presentations submissions. This allows us to broadcast information from the engineers that actually built the features and new announcements and also showcases the best from our community.

Selecting for the platform on the platform

The new Call For Presentations application running on Salesforce means that we has access to all the CRM tools at our disposal: dashboards, reports and Chatter, oh my! Our review panel was able to slice the data and drill down to give their recommendations.

With recommendation in hand, we began the final selection process. We don’t use anything as simple as a stack rank. Instead, highly recommended sessions get pulled in Chatter conversations to determine their fate. Sessions are also chosen across a broad and diverse set of topics to make sure sure that the entire track isn’t all talking about Lightning Web Components.

From previous years, the overwhelming feedback from presenters was that they were overbooked. This is one of the main reasons the CFP application limits five sessions per speaker (whether they were the main speaker or not). Dreamforce is a place for you to learn, connect, and have fun (and not burn out!), so this year, we did our best to accept great content without overbooking anyone. This is to make sure you get the opportunity to enjoy all that Dreamforce has to offer.

My session wasn’t selected. I still want to present!

The way the numbers worked this year was we could only take about one of every ten sessions submitted. Competition was intense and we had so many great submissions, but we also had limited space and a ton of different products to cover. The good news is that you don’t have to wait until next year to present your content and get up on a stage! There are literally hundreds of developer group meetups and many community-led conferences happening all year around the world, and they’re all chock full of developers who want to learn from you. Go here to find the closest developer group near you, jump in, and jump onto that stage!

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The Dreamforce Developer Track 2019: How We Select Sessions