What's with Open Space and the Advancing Agility track?

All but one Agilepalooza event in the past has used open space for the advanced track. We ensure that speakers are involved in the open space either as session hosts or attendees to add their knowledge. We also sometimes have a single presentation within the advanced track. We do this, in all honesty, to get people that don't have experience with open space to see that there will be "thought leaders" involved although with open space you simply need other practitioners to share experiences to have a great day of learning and collaborating.

Each speaker will propose a session which you will be able to choose to attend or you may choose to attend a session that another person has proposed, or even propose one yourself!

It is guaranteed to be a great day and you will be surprised how much value get out of all the conversation.

Our Open Space Theme

The theme for our open space is "Advancing Agility". This theme is based around inspecting and adapting our practices to fit the context of our particular challenges, complexities and context whether that be from a program or project management process or engineering practices standpoint. It is about taking what we have learned, gaining new experiential learning from others and advancing our agile methods. That is, of course, the crux of agility - continuously improving how we develop, deliver and work to create great work product and great workplaces.

A Brief Explanation of Open Space at AgilePalooza

At the beginning of the Open Space the participants sit in a circle, or in concentric circles depending on the size of room and number of attendees.

The facilitator will greet the people and briefly re-state the theme of their gathering (Advancing Agility). All participants are asked to identify issues or opportunities related to the theme. Participants willing to raise a topic will come to the centre of the circle, write it on a sheet of paper and announce it to the group before choosing a time and a place for discussion and posting it on a wall. There will be 'spaces' designated by the facilitator, usually corners of the main room and/or break-out rooms. The wall the session will be posted on will be set up in a grid identifying time slots and spaces. That wall becomes the agenda for the meeting or commonly know as the 'marketplace'.

San Francisco AgilPalooza Open Space Marketplace
An example of the marketplace from the AgilePalooza in San Francisco

It is not mandatory to propose a session but anyone may do so. When proposing a session you don't have to be an expert, you can know nothing about the topic but just want to learn about it. Having passion for the topic is the only prerequisite. If someone proposes a session, it is expected that the person has passion for the issue and can start the discussion on it. When all topics have been posted, participants designate which individual sessions they will attend by signing their initials on each session description. Sessions at AgilePaloozas are typically 45 minutes to 1 hour time blocks although many discussions run into the breaks and carry on after the event. The only constraint is if the space is designated for another session the participants must find a new 'space' to continue their conversation.

After the opening and agenda creation, the individual groups go to work. The attendees organize each session; people may freely decide which session they want to attend, and may switch to another one at any time. The closing consists of each session host giving a 3-4 minute overview of the session for the entire group. These overviews are recorded on video and posted for future reference. (based on willingness of session host) You can view past open space session overviews at some of our past events here. There will then be a short closing circle for participants to say a few words about the day if they choose to.

You can get more detailed Open Space information at www.openspaceworld.org.

You can read a recent blog post titled: "Open Space Doesn't Work in China" here.

If there are "Learning Agility" sessions I want to go to during open space, can I?

Yup, if there is something of interest in the Learning track presentations then feel free. (based on available space)