Open spaces open minds

Post date: Oct 01, 2014 7:57:33 AM

September's Agile Yorkshire ditched the usual talks in favour of an 'Open Spaces' style gathering. The Open Spaces format gives those in attendance the opportunity to air their views on the topics that matter to them, with this month's theme being 'Organisational Culture'.

The evening ended with the monthly prize draw and drinks in the Midnight Bell. Thanks to all our volunteer team who make the event happen and finally thanks to main sponsors iSource IT, Piksel, Callcredit and NewRedo and to our prize sponsors O'Reilly, JetBRAINS, Manning, Wrox and PluralSight.

Write up by Eleanor Chambers and Krystan Honour

We came back together at the end to reflect on the conversations that had been had and give everyone a chance to hear what had gone on in the sessions that they had been unable to attend. It was definitely interesting and informative to see what our community thought on different subjects -- a successful Open Spaces event for Agile Yorkshire.

The first stage of the process was an invitation to submit proposals for topics of discussion. The board quickly filled with potential ideas, some of which needed a bit more elaboration than others! The topic owners gave us a brief overview of their idea, enabling us to group several of the proposals together where we saw enough commonality between them. Everyone was given three votes, and after a session of dot voting it was clear what people most wanted to talk about. Some of the winning topics were (roughly): 'Do we need managers?', 'Are all company cultures the same?' and 'Does agile work for predicting project costs/time-scales?’

The discussions were held in three sessions running concurrently in three rooms, with participants free to move about the rooms at will. Each session was hosted by the person who had proposed the talk, which elicited a few sad faces as the hosts realised they might not be able to join in with all the other conversations that they had been interested in.

Whilst the plan had been to run nine sessions in total (one at a time in each of the three rooms) we only ended up having time for two sessions per room, such was the level of lively discussion. There were some passionate voices to be heard and not everyone was always in agreement. Nonetheless, common threads were noted down in an attempt to address the issues at hand, and everyone seemed to enjoy the process.