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BOOK SPRINTS

BookSprints: Budget

Logistics and Budget

A Book Sprint can be done for very cheaply if all participants are local, you have a place to work in, and people volunteer. However, if you are bringing in experts from around the world or you wish to hire an experienced Sprint Master, you'll have more costs.

Still, the total cost of a fully funded international sprint is comparable to hiring a contract technical writer for a specific deliverable, yet the results from the collaborative authoring effort will be quicker, the process is a good team builder, it will help build a community around the content, may generate more interest in the project, and the quality we have seen so far is quite high.

Given that you're asking people to take a week away from jobs and family without compensation (probably), try to get enough funding to make sure it cost the participants nothing. In other word, pay for all travel, food, and accommodations. It's reasonable to ask them to use the lowest-cost travel options and find spare couches at local supporters' apartments. If the participants will need to pay for anything, make sure they know in advance. For instance, state clearly which meals are provided and which dates you have accommodations available, so they know whether they need to pay for anything at the two ends.

This chapter covers the items you will need to consider.

Travel

Try and cover everyone's travel if you can. Travel costs are usually larger than you anticipate. If someone flies in, for example, try to cover not only the flight but the costs of their travel to the airport from home and back again, and to the venue from the airport and back again.

Sometimes you may do a call for voluntary participation and find that some pay for their own travel to come from afar. This is fine, so long as they know what the deal is.

Accommodations

If you don't have a budget for a hotel (which can be expensive when you add up several people staying all week), ask around and find out who has a spare bed or couch. If you have a budget, consider hiring a vacation rental. These are cheaper than hiring multiple hotel rooms. A vacation rental is usually a fully equipped house with kitchen, etc., so you can also cook there and save some money on food instead of eating out.

The ideal book sprint is a house away from city distractions, with a good Internet connection, some space for people to escape to when they need some space, and enough beds so everyone can sleep there.

Food

Not only is it respectful to take care of participants food needs without charging them, but sprints go more efficiently if food just shows up when its needed and the participants don't have to waste time worrying about it. In addition to breakfast and lunch, provide snacks during the sprint.

Find out what their favourite foods are and go shopping. Make sure  to explicitly ask what dietary restrictions they have (religious, political, and medical) and make sure you have something for everybody at every meal.

If you like to cook, you will have a fun week! If you don't like cooking, see if you can convince someone else to cook for the week.

If participants are responsible for their own meals in the evenings, be sure they know what they can expect to pay and where to find eating establishments at a variety of price levels. In a vacation rental, provide all meals on site (participants are usually happy to help cook when they're not working on the sprint).

Remuneration

If you have the budget for it, try to pay participants for contributing to the book. Some people stick to a strict creed of voluntarism, but others will find it easier to participate and be more motivated if you can reward them with a bit of money.

If you don't have money to pay anyone, it's fine to ask for volunteers; just be clear that there's no compensation.

Some sprints have hired an experienced Sprint Master or professional editor.

Writing Resources

Make sure you have enough of the following:

    • Extension power cords and boxes
    • Pens and paper
    • International power adapters
    • Chairs
    • A printer and printer paper
    • Ethernet cables or a wireless router
    • Mouse pads
    • Reference material
      • A data projector (beamer)
        Usually, participants bring their own laptops. Make sure to ask them to bring a laptop, or borrow one to provide for participants who don't bring one.
        EDIT