In December 2023 I did a thing I’ve never done before: I hosted a panel discussion. The panel was my idea (yay me), so I got to choose who to invite and work out how the whole thing was going to work. It was a bit stressy. I didn’t really have anything to model it on, so we had to make a lot of things up and throw some spaghetti at the wall. 🍝

For a first attempt, I’m pretty proud of how it turned out: we ran to time, people submitted questions beforehand (and asked questions in the room!), and conversation seemed to flow.

The guests on the panel were downright wonderful: Sarah Maddox, Claire Mahoney, and Mel Kaulfuss. They were professional, engaging, articulate and made me look good. I got to bask in some reflected glory. I was awesome-adjacent.

panel view from rear

Self-critically: I found it hard to make like Elsa and LET IT GO. Part of that was first-time nerves, part of it was my inner tech writer wanting to control the process (a clear outline, questions categorized into themes, allotted time spans for discussion, etc), and part of it was tension from being on the organizing committee of the conference and having worked really hard over two days with poor sleep to help keep the conference delivered seamlessly.

panel host

As soon as it was over, I wanted a second try. I could tell where I needed to ask follow-up questions and when to dig deeper. But I could only see those opportunities after they were gone. In the moment, there were just too many spinning plates. 🍽

I want to extend a HUGE thank you to my amazing panelists. I can’t wait to have a go at this grand adventure again at Write the Docs Australia 2024!

Find out more:

  • A full summary of the discussion on the OSP blog - what we ACTUALLY talked about including the value of docs, working with others, and diversity in tech!
  • The recording of the event on WTD’s conference playlist.