How-To User Group – Hear It From James Titcumb & Organisers Of PHP Hampshire – “Be Decisive & Take The Lead”

PHP Hampshire User Group

About This ‘PHP User Group Interview’ Concept

This is the #4th set of Know Thy PHP User Group in an attempt to create more awareness of:

  • what is $this PHP UG about + get to know the leaders/Founders/Community behind it
  • what is a PHP User Group in general
  • to personally know all the PHP user goups Around The World – that excites me and I hope you too!

This concept is also a good opportunity for new elePHPants to know about PHP UGs.

PS: Are YOU the founder or organiser of a php user group? Get in touch with me for a similar interview, contact me and/or make a comment below with your email. I’ll get back to you!

PPS: We have a similar concept for “Know Thy PHP Conferences

Who Are James Titcumb & Organisers Of PHP Hampshire?

PHP Hampshire User Group

Last time I welcomed the PHP Hampshire User Group here on 7php – where James talked about the group, the crew, how it all started and everything else..

How-To PHP User Group From The Experience Of James Titcumb & Organisers Of PHP Hampshire

>> What are the things that we need to keep in mind before thinking of creating a user group

Is there a market? Are there ANY people around who are in PHP? If you live in the middle of no-where, don’t create a UG for your village. Either find one in nearby cities, or look into Nomad PHP.

>> What are the challenges that arise when creating a user group

Promoting is always the biggest challenge. Getting the word out about your group is intensely difficult, but thankfully other members of the PHP community are really helpful, for example the ug-admins mailing list on

>> How to create a user group – can you share with us your way of doing it

Decide how you want it to workmailing lists are a good starting point. I suggest getting at least two other people involved as well. Start by meeting at a pub, decide where you want the future to be.

>> Your tips & tricks of doing it right

The most important point I have learnt is that you must be decisive and take the lead. Have faith in yourself to make the right decisions, and don’t allow decisions left to the community to stagnate – gauge feedback, but at some point you need to make a decision in order to move forward.

>> What is expected out of the Founder of a group

A founder of a group is like a manager of a company – they are looked up to for direction, decision making, fairness and everything else.

>> Things that a founder MUST do

Founders must be decisive as I said. They are the leaders and you need to make sure your vision of where you want the UG to go. Smile, be nice and friendly 🙂

>> Things that a founder should AVOID doing

Don’t be prejudiced, and don’t ignore feedback from your UG.

>> Now, the ‘after-creating’ the user group, how should a leader keep the group active

Constantly get the group members involved where they want to (but don’t harass them). Make sure you keep organising meetups, otherwise people will forget about your group!

>> How to encourage members to participate and attend meetups?

Members are encouraged to participate by the organisers asking for opinions, help with organisations and asking for help with specific items (for example developing the website) on the mailing list and Twitter account.

>> How to find (good) speakers

Interestingly, so far our speakers have either been local people from within the group, or speakers that have approached us.

>> Criteria to select a speaker

Quite simple – they should have something interesting to share with everyone, and be done “the right way”.

>> How to find sponsors and why kind/type of sponsors do we need to look for? What is involved

So far we have only been sponsored by companies closely involved, so we have not had to hunt hard for sponsorship.

>> A mistake that you made and would like to share with us?

Our biggest mistake was thinking that there would be reasonably priced venues available to hold conferences – this is absolutely not the case, most venues are extremely expensive, sometimes prohibitively so!

>> Any other aspects that I missed and you think is important to be aware of?

It’s hard work, but is very rewarding knowing you are helping the community.

>> A final word before closing..

Absolutely support your local PHP user group. If there is not one, consider starting one. Alternatively, join Nomad PHP – there are no excuses not to learn more about your industry!

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