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How to make a Successful Java User Group

Posted by ahashim on January 4, 2008 at 9:27 AM PST
Mmm, you can ask this question if you have an inactive user group, or when you are going to establish a new user group. How to make a successful Java User Group?
After discussing with JUG-Leaders allover the world, and with the support & idea of Aaron Houston, the Sun JUG program coordinator we reached the keys of the success of every java user group. Now I will try to conclude them in points and add my points inside.
Juggy logo
  1. Ask all members to tell their friends & collegues about your the community.
  2. Find a university to sponsor meeting place, else find local IT company. Then invite the university student or company employees to join your JUG.
  3. If there is a Sun Local office there and you have a contact person, let them know about your JUG.
  4. Make a regural meeting and consider having a senior programmers in your community to make presentations.
  5. You can use the presentation which Sun evengelists are giving in the Sun Tech Days program: -http://developers.sun.com/events/techdays/self_paced_labs.jsp -http://developers.sun.com/events/techdays/past_presentations.jsp -http://developers.sun.com/events/techdays/presentations/2006_ZA_JNB.jsp
  6. Consider inviting local headhunter or employment recruiting firms to your meetings. Some JUGs let the recruiter pass out their cards for a small donation to the JUG...say $25 - $50 to support refreshments. Some JUGs have been successful in doing this while not allowing the recruitor to disrupt their meetings with high pressure sales pitches about their placement firm.
  7. When your JUG membership reaches 50 or so members, contact Sun Technology Outreach. Get on Java.net mailing list; and, they will send you some T-shirts, CDs-software, or Java Brand novelties to raffle off...support your local JUG.
  8. Post your meeting and events in the java.net JUGs Community page. (Keeps Sun and potential speakers aware of your JUG events, just in case we have an engineer or evangelist in the area or traveling to that area)
  9. Contact your local Universities, particularly the instructors of any Java or OO classes. Offer tutoring help to students who become members. Getting someone to post on the Technology area public boards helps.
  10. You can contact Publishers of Java books, some will send you books to pass out during meetings. It helps if you can setup a page to publish Book Reviews. (I make it a requirement to receive a book difficult to enforce but...)
  11. Avoid politics between sponsores and head hunting firms.Try to stay neutral.Even though you will see that eventually certain companies will support the JUG constantly.Try to give equal opportunities to all the sponsores, if you have a lots of offers.
  12. Try to make good enough events, have experience developers presenting, try to find interesting topics, make polls before the events - tech days asking people about topics . Make a call for presenteres among the JUG members
  13. Try to make some kind of service in order to inform the JUG members for Job vacancies.
  14. A good site always helps. An easy and flexible CMS system (lots of them in PHP, or Java as well) can make your JUG site more interesting.
  15. Be online. Answer emails fast, use IMs. People will never ask you again unless you provide them with fast and positive result.
  16. Keep the core leader team of the JUG small. The team needs to be highly motivated and passionate about Java and the JUG. It happens to be more or less 2-4 people.Eventually decisions need to be taken quickly so its going to be a matter of one person sometimes...that is normal. You can see that probably lots of people will get interested in participated or helping though not all of them remain loyal to the core intiative of the JUG.

There is an update for this post, available on Java.net, check it.

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Comments

The path of reviving an inactive JUG is not easy, thanks a lot for the sharing. And there are definitely some good points that I can take. I dived into the Malaysian Java User Group (website at: www.my-jug.org) around mid of last year. It has been inactive for years, as in, no regular outings, no committees, no updated website, quiet mailing list, etc. In the past few months, what I have done are, * Start talking in the mailing list, so others will start talking too * Make a new website for them, yes, using a wiki: Confluence (the one I pasted above is new) * Get people to spread the words, but this couldn't really work out :-( I have tried to reach the local Sun but I was sort of brushed off which I believe due to some political reasons (only recently I heard some good news that they'd like to sponsor some speakers). Neither could I get a good response from other local companies I have tried to reach. I truly believe a man can't do every thing, a community is by a community, a committed group of people (the committees), and a passionate local industry, etc. That's the key to success.. now, there're more obstacles to face in front. - yc