Have you ever been to a conference where you don’t know the specific topics of discussion until the morning of the conference? That’s what Agile Open Florida and other OpenSpace Conferences are all about. OpenSpace conferences rely on the attendees through self-organization and spontaneity to create the agenda as part of the conference’s opening ceremony. An overall arching topic is designated for the conference. Meeting rooms are allocated and time slots are defined. At the beginning of the conference, any attendee can write their discussion topic on a piece of paper, get in line, announce it on the microphone to the group and then tape their paper on the big board in an available time slot and room of their choice. You may be an expert on the topic looking to educate others or someone who knows little about the topic and is seeking to draw others opinions to the discussion.
There are four rules and one law of OpenSpace:
- Whoever comes are the right people.
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
- Whenever it starts is the right time.
- When it’s over – it’s over.
Law of Two Feet: Use your two feet to take you where you can contribute, share and enjoy and feel free at any time to leave and join a different discussion. It’s OK to move around. It liberates you and keeps the energy level high.
Agile Open Florida has been utilizing this format in the past and this year was no different. The conference was energetic. Attendees were meeting new people, catching up with old colleagues and exchanging ideas both in and outside of the sessions. You learn so much from hearing others situations, ideas and remedies and just being part of the community outside of your own workplace.
Agile Open Florida was one of many events in the community that allows you to draw from different people’s experiences and expertise. There are also Meetups, Guilds, Slack channels, etc. that are open to all with little to no fees. So if you’re not involved in your community, think about doing so. Find out what’s available in your area. You’ll find you have a wealth of knowledgeable people out there willing to share their experiences.