Recap: Jan 24 Agile P2P – Open Space

For the first session in 2012, we thought we’d try to generate some discussion using an Open Space format.

What is Open Space?

  • a meeting format where there is no pre-defined agenda. Instead the agenda is derived by the participants during the meeting and can be changed as the meeting progresses (Wikipedia Definition)

Four principles to an open space meeting

  • 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

The Law of Two Feet

  • if at any point you find yourself in a situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, you should use your two feet to go to a more productive place

For our adaption of Open Space we divided the room into four meeting areas and timeboxed the sessions to 30 minutes. This allowed for a total of 8 time slots. After the introduction, individuals were asked to write down topic ideas for sessions they wished to facilitate and put them next to a time slot. It’s important to note that you don’t need to be an expert to facilitate a topic. All you need is passion and energy. Sometimes a topic can be just a question to which you’re looking for possible answers. The response from the audience was great. There were more than enough topics for the available time slots.

Declan giving introduction

Declan giving introduction

As the sessions began, individuals were encouraged to roam about freely making use of the law of 2 feet. The idea being that each person is responsible for what they get out of the meeting. If someone is no longer getting value out of the session they are in they are encouraged to move to one of the other sessions. Or they could break off into their own side discussion with whoever happens to be around. Or maybe they just want to head over to Balzac’s, grab a coffee and take a break for a while.

After the last round of sessions were complete, everyone gathered together for a quick summary and retrospective. Based on the feedback received the Open Space format went over really well. There were many great topics and some very energetic discussions. Open Space is definitely something we’ll consider doing again at a future agile P2P.

Here’s a collection of some of the whiteboard content from the various sessions:

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One Comment on “Recap: Jan 24 Agile P2P – Open Space”

  1. azheglov Says:

    A better mindmap of the Limited WIP Society discussion (better than the flipchart snapshot) is available at:

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