How to start to organising PyCon

After establishing & organising 7 PyCon in Hong Kong since 2015, I looks for more volunteers from the local Python community who can be volunteers to orgnaise & lead the conference, this post is aimed to share my experience in how to organise PyCon and some of them are essential to PyCon.

PyCon is organised by a non-profit making organisation, eg. the local Python User Group. In Hong Kong, when I established the PyCon Hong Kong, I asked the Hong Kong Creative Open Technology Association (HKCOTA) to support the local python community to manage it when I was co-founder and director of HKCOTA. Open Source Hong Kong (OSHK) is the key organiser to organise the conference with the Hong Kong Python User Group (HKPUG / HKPyUG)

The Code of Conduct (CoC) must be adopted and all participants including speakers, sponsors, and volunteers must obey it. Similar to other open source community conferences, PyCon includes but is not limited to the following activities:

  • Main Conference
  • Bird of Feather (BoF)
  • Development Sprints
  • Education Track
  • Lightning Talks
  • Party
  • Sponsor Workshops

Unlike other open source community conferences (eg. COSCUP, FOSDEM, HKOSCon), Everybody Pay is the tradition and policy in the Python community even the speakers and volunteers. Diversity and Inclusion are also key values of the python community, Financial Assistance is also provided so those who might otherwise not be able to attend can.


Except for the keynotes, lightning talks, and sponsored sessions, the organiser calls for proposals (CFP) to recruit speakers for talks and workshops and then goes through a vetting process to accept some of the submissions.

Keynote speakers can be invited by the program committee or conference organiser. Lightning talks should be limited to 5-minute each, speakers can be recruited by either CFP or on-site application. Opening and Closing sessions should be also included in the conference program.

Although some open source community conferences (eg. FOSDEM) don’t have the host of sessions and tracks, it is good to have a session host (MC) to manage the conference track to make sure the conference & sessions will be started and finished on time.

Volunteer Team

A volunteer team should be recruited and they are responsible for but not limited to the following roles.

  • Conference Chair: Managing the strategy, team, and making decisions.
  • Administration and Secretary: Meeting Minutes, External & Team Communications.
  • Finance: Bookkeeping for Income & Expense, Budget Planning, Financial Handling.
  • Design: Graphic Design & Productions.
  • Marketing: Mass Media, Social Media.
  • Program: CFP, Vetting, Keynote Invitation, Session Hosts
  • Photography: Conference Report,
  • Sales: Call For Sponsorship document, Sponsorship Deals & Negotiation, and Contact Point to communicate with Sponsors.
  • Website & Social Media: Setup and manage the website and social network accounts.
  • Venue: Venue Booking, On-site Operation, Move-in&out.
  • Video: Recording, Post Processing, Streaming, Upload.


The 1st task should be venue booking for in-person conferences. For the venue, the team / PIC starts from venue searching and booking, and then designs the floor plan and assigns rooms, booths, and reception counter. Optionally the team may provide a staff room, speaker room, store room, and facilities for other activities.

Before & After the conference, and during the conference, the team should also manage the on-site operation, move-in, and setup (before the conference), provide lunch & tea, and clean up and move out (after the conference).


  1. PyCon Hong Kong website.
  2. Hong Kong Creative Open Technology Association (HKCOTA) website.
  3. Open Source Hong Kong (OSHK) website.
  4. Hong Kong Python User Group Facebook Group and Meetup Group.
  5. Development Sprints in PyCon US.
  6. About PyCon’s Everybody Pays.
  7. Financial Assistance in PyCon US.
  8. Code of Conduct in PyCon US.

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