Agile Open Event a Resounding Success in Florianopolis, Brazil
The event was planned to coinciding with the Agile Alliance board meeting in the city, and the board members actively participated. Organised by the local Agile community and the Agile Alliance the event was facilitated by Diana Larsen and Samuel Crescencio (who also provided live translation into Portugese), and event attracted over 100 participants from all over Brazil and as far away as Canada.
The event started with Larsen introducing the concept and philosophy of an Open Space event. Open Space is a self-organized event where the participants propose topics they would like to talk about and then select which sessions they wish to attend, on the day of the event. The program is fluid and can adjust as the event unfolds. A set of simple rules guide participation:
- Whoever shows up are the right people
- Whenever it starts, it starts
- It ends when it ends
- Wherever it happens is the right place
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could happen
There are four roles in open space events:
- Hosts - propose sessions, be there when the session starts, ensure that everyone who attends can participate, either facilitate the session or arrange for it to be facilitated, take notes or ensure that notes are taken
- Participants - come to the session and stay there engaged in the discussions
- Bumblebees - move between sessions cross-pollenating the ideas from one session to other sessions
- Butterflies - outside of a session contemplating what they've learned (called butterflies because they make the place beautiful)
She emphasised the "law of two feet" - it's safe, and expected, that people will move in and out of sessions; "if you find yourself in a place where you are not learning or contributing then take yourself to a place where you can".
An agenda structure with four 70 minute timeslots and eight session spaces (spread around the venue) was built on a wall and the attendees were asked to propose sessions and add them to the grid, in a location and timeslot that the host wanted.
Over 20 sessions were proposed, covering topics as diverse as the fundamentals of Lean Startup, the challenges of Agile and Distributed Teams, Agile Coaching and The Mikado Method for refactoring large legacy codebases.
The sessions ran through the day with much sharing of knowledge and experience among the participants.
The day ended with a retrospective in which the participants were asked to share their feelings on the outcome and value of the event, the responses were uniformly positive and clearly showed that this community event was worthwhile.
Rebecca Parsons, chair of the Agile Alliance, said afterwards:
It was wonderful to see the local community in Florianopolis come out in force and engage in the event. Agile Open events are run by the community for the community and the Agile Alliance is proud to support the community here.
It was a great event!
Thanks for writing about this. I was really impressed with the openness as wel as the depth and breadth of the participants there.
As one of few non-Portugese speaking attendees I also appreciated that others allowed me to participate by holding conversations in English whenever I was around.
And hats off to Diane Larsen and Samuel Crescencio for wonderful facilitation!
Chris Mattmann Apr 15, 2014