In one of the previous blog posts I explained the team-based conference and in another post the Conference Review Bazaar. During the conference we had an Open Space running in parallel with the conference and the Open Space information is collected in this post.
Open Space is a large-group facilitation technique based on self-organization (there is more to it, but for now this description will do). It roughly consists of the “opening of the space” where anyone in the group can propose topics that they would like to talk more about. They post their topic in a timeslot and location so that people who would like to come know where to go. After the opening of the space, everyone can join any session they like… or do something else.
In a LeSS adoption, having a regular Open Space event is common for creating a forum for team members to raise topics for discussion and organize around them. I usually recommend to do it bi-weekly and fairly informal, combine it with a coffee and cake session.
Open Space is a common technique to use in conferences too. Some conferences are only Open Space where the participants of the conference create the conference. Alternatively, some conferences have a separate Open Space track where people can post additional sessions next to the planned ones. That is what we did in the LeSS conference.
In my opinion, we didn’t do that well. The opening of the space didn’t go smooth as there was a separation from the conference space and the Open Space space. The Open Space explanation was short and could have had some references to how to use it in LeSS. There were few reminders about the Open Space, and we feel that the Open Space was not utilized as much as it could have been. In addition to that, some people feel the LeSS Conference should be an Open Space conference. I’m myself not sure, but it is an interesting thought to combine it with a team-based conference.
All that said, the Open Space track did happen and it did deliver value to the participants. I joined a few Open Space sessions myself and enjoyed them.
As with the team creation and the Conference Review Bazaar, we didn’t collect all the photos yet (we were horrible at documenting the conference). This post will be the collection of Open Space sessions that we know of. If you were in an Open Space session and like to summarize it a bit more or have some photos, please let me know, and I’ll add them to this post.