Portland, Oregon - January 30-31, 2007

About Open Space

Back in 1983, Harrison Owen made a discovery. He had spent a year organizing an international conference and, when it was over, everyone agreed that the best learning, information sharing and networking had occured in the coffee breaks!

Owen went on to originate Open Space Technology, an approach to organizing meetings that allows groups of all sizes to self-organize, create an agenda and solve complex problems. Agile Open Northwest is based on Open Space Technology.

Over the last 20 or more years, the Open Space movement has grown to the point where entire conferences based on its principles are not uncommon. Working without an agenda, but with specific strategies to encourage and direct participation, groups of up to 1000 people have successfully self-organized around a complex problem, held meetings and published results.

OST is particularly appropriate for an Agile conference, because it delays all decisions about what sessions will be held, when they will be scheduled and who will attend them until the last responsible moment. If you have ever signed up for particular sessions in a traditional conference months in advance, only to discover that your needs and interests had changed by the time you got to the event, you'll appreciate the value of this!

Opening Space

The opening session of Agile Open Northwest takes place on the first morning with everyone attending. At that time, the principles of Open Space will be explained and you will have a chance to ask questions about them.

The Four Principles

  • Whoever comes is the right people.
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
  • Whenever it starts is the right time.
  • Whenever its over, its over.

Creating a Session

After this introduction, we will invite those who want to host a session to come forward and present it. This is a simple process. No papers, slides, flip-charts are needed - or even desired. You will simply step forward and talk to us about the session you are proposing. You should include just enough information to let people decide whether to attend - and no more. Generally, less than one minute is needed.

After presenting a summary of your proposed session, you will select a time and place from those available on our wall-display and post a notice there.

Attending Sessions

It's important for everyone attending our conference to be present for the opening. You should listen to the presentations and take note of those you would like to attend. As you listen, you may be inspired to present a session yourself. There are no deadlines or time limits: simply step up and describe your idea for a session.

At the end of the presentation, you will be invited to browse the notices on the wall and sign up to attend any sessions that interest you. Signing up for a session is optional. You may attend any session you like and even move between sessions.

Adding Sessions

You may add a sesson to the schedule at any time during the event by posting information about it in an available slot. We'll have periodic announcements of any new or rescheduled sessions as well, but it's a good idea for all participants to keep an eye out for schedule changes.

Additional Info

For additional info, see the Frequently Asked Questions.