You’ve heard of bar camps and unconferences…meet the start of them all! Agile Open Northwest runs on Open Space Technology (OST).
Way 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 occurred during the coffee breaks! Hmmmm.
After giving that some thought (and drinking two martinis), 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.
In the thirty years since - the Open Space movement has grown and many conferences have been organized on its principles. Working with specific strategies to encourage and direct participation, groups of as many as 2000 people have successfully self-organized around complex problems, held meetings, and published results.
What a great fit for an Agile conference! OST 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 approach.
The opening session of Agile Open Northwest takes place on the first morning, with everyone attending. Your commitment to arriving at the beginning and staying until the end of the conference will make sure we build on conversation after conversation.
A host will explain the Five Principles and One Law of Open Space during the open session. If you have questions, volunteers and hosts will offer answers.
The Five Principles
Whoever comes are the right people.
Whatever happens, is the only thing that could happen.
Whenever it starts is the right time.
Whenever it's over, it's over.
Wherever it happens is the right place.
The Law of Personal Mobility
If you find yourself where you can't learn or contribute, move yourself to a place where you can.
CREATING A SESSION
After the introduction, we will invite those who want to convene a session to come forward and present it. It’s a simple process. You don’t need to prepare papers, slides, or flip charts. You simply step forward and briefly describe the session you propose. You’ll include just enough information to let people decide whether to attend…and no more. Generally, you need less than thirty seconds.
After presenting a summary of your proposed session, you’ll select a time and place and post a notice on our Marketplace wall. As each person does the same…Voila! The agenda is born.
We ask that everyone attending our conference show up for the opening. It’s important. You’ll 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 browse the notices on the Marketplace 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 (according to The Law).
You may add a session to the schedule at any time during the event by posting information about it in an available slot in the agenda. We’ll have periodic announcements of any new or rescheduled sessions, but it’s a good idea for participants to watch for schedule changes.