This was our first internal CMS Summit

Snowy Mountain Peaks above a sea of clouds on a clear blue skyPhoto by Vitaliy Paykov on Unsplash

It all started when someone said, "I'd actually like to talk about our CMS a bit further at some point,"  and I had the idea to somehow make room for this conversation. Quickly, the idea of the CMS Summit was born. So on the 13th, I invited our colleagues to have a short afternoon of focused discussion around this topic.

Insights for co-creation

Planning this event was a lot of fun. In 2021, I could help out as a Co-Organizer on the official Eleventy Meetup and get a little taste for what it means to setup something similar. So I felt prepared. But I wanted to make this as collaborative as possible, so I needed to organize the event around my colleagues. The easiest way I could think of without assuming to know what they needed and wanted was to survey them. So I did.

I asked all sorts of questions regarding the structure of the event. These questions helped me make a decision about how to approach the planning:

  • "Do you think we should do this at all?" (88.9% yes)

  • Should we have a single time slot or multiple time slots for multiple things? (55,6% said "all in one go," 22,2% said "multiple time slots on a single day," 11.1% said "multiple time slots over multiple days," and 11.1% said "it depends if there are breaks."

  • "What should we fill the time slots with?" (77.8% wanted talks and showcases; 44.4% wanted panel discussions and tutorials; this was a multiple choice question!)

And then there were questions about whether they wanted to contribute. And luckily, I did find people who were interested in participating!

insights for ourselves

In addition to questions regarding the event itself, I also took the opportunity to ask a bit about CMS in general. I wanted the event to provide an opportunity for us to not only expand our knowledge about CMS, but also provide us as an organization with insight regarding our own attitude toward and experience with them!

Screenshot of a Team Meeting. Presentation Slide with an Owl reading

Quite unexpectedly, 44.4% of us had never actually worked with a CMS before. I asked those of us who had an extended set of questions, and they proved to be very insightful after all. And these answers would become the content of the opening talk that I decided to hold for the event, in addition to two other talks about the topic.


Florian Bacher and Martin Vasco donated their time and knowledge to dive into a CMS-related topic and create a little talk from it. While Florian experimented with builder.io and presented his findings, Martin showed us how he had been using sanity.io in the past.

Screenshot of a Teams Meeting. Presentation slide reading

In both of those talks, discussions were happening after the talk was finished. This was the purpose of this event after all: to provide a dedicated time and space to exchange opinions, experiences, and knowledge about this topic. But it changed our schedule just a little bit. It accumulated over time, and eventually, we withdrew by 45 minutes.

And then it was done.

In addition to the live content via talks and the event itself, I wanted to make sure that those that weren't able to participate at the time could still reap the intended benefits of the event. So in addition to the talks at the event itself, I also planned a stream of static content fitting the subject that we could engage with after the event as well. In addition to those two blog posts, which were part of this static content stream, I also prepared a post on our internal blog.

Screenshot of a Teams Meeting. Screen Sharing of a website within builder.io

It's quite difficult to find a sense of "ending" with an event that is intended to be participated in asynchronously as well. But eventually, after two weeks, I considered the CMS Summit done. In order to get some insight about how it all went, I once again deployed a survey to ask about this event and its future.

The results are in!

I can't share all of the numbers publicly. But here are some shareable numbers that indicate success to me:

  • 80% of people had the opportunity to talk about the topic with colleagues outside of the event's contents.

  • 80% of people read the static content.

  • 100% of participants think we should do this again.

  • 80% of people rated the event 8/10 for how much it matched their expectations.

  • 80% of people rated the event 10/10 for how much they liked the event in general.

  • 60% of people rated the first survey's insights 7/10 for how much it changed how they see CMS usage in our company.

  • 80% of people rated the event 7/10 for how much the event helped them learn something new about CMS in general.

Now that's some exciting stuff! Here is some of the specific feedback the event got:

"The speakers have prepared really well and tried to present their topics as clearly as possible."

"It was really awesome!"

"The setup was awesome." "The planning was superb."

But we also wanted to know what we could improve on:

"The only thing that I could think of would be something like a timetable for decision processes."

"The time slot was apparently a bit too short after all, as there was a need for discussion."

"Generally, those things would be nicer in person."

The Conclusion

Oh, we're doing this again. For sure. The feedback is very clear—that we considered it useful and that we want it to happen again! The format in general has the potential to change focus, and our colleagues agree with this. Who knows what the next summit will be about?

Luckily, the next time can only be better. Not only because we now already have the experience of the first summit, but also because we have direct feedback from its participants on what we can do to make it better for them.

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