Dan Ames is the co-convenor of iEMSs 2014 together with Nigel Quinn and he's sharing with us some of his experience in getting things done. This is an excerpt from a mail he wrote to the organisers of iEMSs 2016. I am publishing it here for future reference.
0) You and a very small group form the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) now. For example, in my case it was me and Nigel and Andrea. (3 people only to keep it simple)
1) You should have your hotel and conference and events venues booked now!
2) LOC should create a rough draft schedule for the conference now. You should also create a web site now with all the information about the conference. This is important to do AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
3) By June 1, LOC should release a "Call for Sessions and Workshops". Send this to the iEMSs board and members mailing list. Set a one month deadline. Attached is our Call for Sessions and Workshops from last year. You can revise it as you see fit. Please feel free to include me and Andrea in these revisions if it helps you.
4) Collect the proposed sessions and workshops and select the ones you want to include in the conference. We chose 39 sessions and workshops. Be careful which ones you choose. Some people will propose a workshop or a session but will do no work! I can give you some warnings.
5) The people who proposed the sessions and workshops are your "Scientific Committee". Make a group mailing list and email them and let them know they are your committee now. Remind them that they are responsible for conducting the abstract and paper reviews for their session. Remind them of the difference between a workshop and a session (see the attached document)
6) On October 1 release the Call for Abstracts. This should list all of the sessions and people must specify which session when they submit their abstract. Give one month for abstracts. Send lots of email to lots of mailing lists to get the abstracts.
7) In November, the scientific committee must choose the abstracts to invite for full papers. Really there are three choices for each abstract: Invite for Full Paper and Oral Presentation; Invite for Oral Presentation Only; Invite for Poster Only. (Also REJECT is an option - But we don't reject many.)
8) In December notify all of the Abstract authors of the result (Full Paper + Oral Presentation; or Oral Presentation Only: or Poster Only; or REJECT). Send a COMMITMENT FORM. They must sign and return the commitment form that says that they agree with the result and they will come to the conference and give the Oral Presentation (or the Poster).
9) Now contact all of the people who were selected for full papers. Give them a deadline to submit the full paper. Perhaps Jan 31.
10) Next the Scientific committee must review all the papers. Remember, they were ALREADY Accepted. So now the reviewers must simply work with the authors through a review process to make the papers of the highest quality possible. The review process for papers is not "Accept/Reject" it is "Improve, improve, improve".
11) Next, in February, you can organize the detailed schedule and post it online. People need to see the detailed schedule so that they can buy their airplane tickets, etc.
12) In Oct-Dec of this year, you should find your key note speakers. That is for the LOC to decide. You can invite the Scientific Committee for recommendations.
13) In March you can post the final schedule with all key note speakers, etc.You can also start emailing people to register for the conference. You will have to send lots of emails to different mailing lists to get people to start registering.
14) In April - June you will update your conference venue people about number of people for food, etc.
15) In July is the conference!