Agile Open Spain 2018

“Notar Diferencia, No Dejar Indifferente”

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During the second week of July, Paradalia left its office in Madrid and made way to Caldes de Montbui in Cataluña, to participate in the annual Agile Open Spain (AOS18) event.The event is a space devised to bring together passionate professionals that are actively seeking to update themselves on the latest methodologies and practices in the agile framework.

As the name suggests, this occasion is an opportunity to openly exchange ideas, experiences in different technique implementation, and ways of working. Drawing influences from Harrison Owen’s book ‘Open Space Technology’, AOS18 is characterized by a the Open Space Conferences format. Consisting of a self-organizing arrangement of spaces specifically designed to boost participation by dismantling the barriers of expression typically present in conferences.

Within a narrow set of defines rules, the collaborators of the participant-driven event opted in favor of a set of guidelines meant to establish a common understanding and respect between participants. The guidelines are:

principles-of-open-space

This small set of guidelines encouraged participants to interact in a simple, yet productive and self-organized way. Each participant is offered an equal chance, a space and the freedom to begin and participate in any conversation they desire to partake in – known as the ‘two feet rule’. For example, if someone feels that they are not contributing or gaining any benefit from a certain presentation, they may feel free to move to a different topic. This is not frowned upon in this type of events, in fact it is encouraged.

Before the start of every session – all proposed topics of conversation are written in post-it notes with a specific structure detailing the reasons of each proposal. Typically each post-it also contains a short summary of the proposed topic, the name of the author, the objective and the medium. These proposals are later pinned up by the author, into a whiteboard containing eight columns designating the location and time available for each slot – this process is referred to as the ‘marketplace’.

For us, events such as these offer an opportunity to refresh and step away from traditional power-point presentations ever present in big corporations and traditional conferences. The reason for this is to restrict the presence of strict behavioral rules that negatively impact the level of attention and participation – for example, ignoring a pre-selection of topics by arbitrary volunteers. These type of Open Space events prove that self-organized gatherings are positively engaging if properly managed. Demonstrating that it is unnecessary to allocate extravagant budgets for captivating tools such as microphones, speakers, screens, projectors or expensive one-way seats, as these don’t determine success. As these Open Spaces promote interaction through the arrangement of seats in a circular, naturalistic manner. They incentivize and guarantee engagement by breaking through structure lines and offering the liberty to take action. Widening the possibility of sharing ideas which are fervently driven by the comfort of being where you want to be.

The most positive aspect we obtain from this format is experimenting with different forms of managing individuals and organizations. These gatherings offer evidence that self-organized activities not only lead to pleasant atmospheres but also enhance the content and learning via participation. Making learning a medium towards the objective of sharing.

Above all, this particular structure offers an opportunity for the exchange of food for thought, allowing participants to learn from the content at hand in a respectful and enjoyable manner. If you are curious or skeptical we not only invite you, but encourage you to partake in organizing an Open Space event yourself!

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