Three years ago, I designed and facilitated an Open Space track of the Agile/XP Universe Conference for programmers here in Chicago. Nice to hear that some of the seeds sewn there have begun to sprout. This report came in recently…
Yesterday, I opened space at the PNSQC conference in Portland OR. (Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference) Ellen Gottesdiener (copied on this email) opened space in July at the Agile 2005 conference, also software-related. In both of those the OS ran concurrently with other sessions. Here in the NW we are planning another software-related regional conference (XP Fest NW) for next spring to be all Open Space, all the time.
The first time I saw Open Space in a conference setting in 2002, Michael Herman opened it for the XP/Agile Universe.
It’s not the ideal way to facilitate Open Space, [conference tracks] but it makes for a more enjoyable and rich conference, IMHO. The more conferences I attend with Open Space tracks, the more impatient I get with powerpoint presentations. Another thing I’ve noticed in conferences that regularly include Open Space…the senior folks and “gurus” tend to show up there and become more accessible than in more formal sessions.
I’d agree with Diana. Better to run the whole thing in Open Space, but sometimes the tracks are a necessary bridge to that. Go, Diana, Go! And perhaps the coolest part about Open Space is that somebody can see it once or twice and then just dive into the leadership for themselves. It helps to have a couple of good looks at it, but after that, it’s just a matter of Practice!