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Open Space at XP2012

Open Space at XP2012

Welcome to Open Space at XP2012! Open Space’s self-directed learning environment will help you integrate and extend the information and experiences you gain during the rest of XP2012. Open Space provides an opportunity to meet in self-organizing groups to share your latest ideas, challenges, questions, hopes, experiences and experiments. The Open Space format gives just enough structure to foster collaboration and the content is determined by those who choose to participate. Make this conference your own. Come to the opening on Tuesday morning, offer your ideas about important topics to explore, attend sessions Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and join us in closing the Open Space on Thursday afternoon.

Open Space at XP2012 runs on a large group process called Open Space Technology It’s a simple way to run productive meetings for any size group (up to thousands) and a powerful way to guide your own learning.

About Open Space Technology

Way back in 1983, Harrison Owen made a discovery. He had spent a year organizing an international conference and, when it was over, everyone agreed that the best learning, information sharing and networking had occurred in the coffee breaks! Hmmmm.

After giving that some thought (and drinking two martinis), Owen went on to originate Open Space Technology, an approach to organizing meetings that allows groups of all sizes to self-organize, create an agenda and solve complex problems.

Over the last 20 or more years, the Open Space movement has grown to the point where many entire conferences have organized on its principles. Working with specific strategies to encourage and direct participation, groups of up to 2000+ people successfully self-organize around complex problems, held meetings, and publish results.

What a great fit for an Agile conference! OST delays all decisions about what sessions will be held, when they will be scheduled and who will attend them until the last responsible moment. If you have ever signed up for particular sessions in a traditional conference months in advance, only to discover that your needs and interests had changed by the time you got to the event, you'll appreciate the value of this!

Opening Space

The opening session of XP2012's Open Space takes place on the first morning of the main conference, with everyone attending. During this opening session, there will be a brief (15 minute) explanation of how Open Space works. You'll hear about the Four Principles and One Law of Open Space.

The Four Principles

  • Whoever comes is the right people.
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
  • Whenever it starts is the right time.
  • Whenever it's over, it's over.

The Law of Personal Mobility

If you find yourself sitting where you can't learn or contribute, move yourself to a place where you can.

If you have questions at this point, volunteers and hosts will offer answers.

Creating a Session

After the introduction, we will invite those who want to convene a session to come forward and present it. It's a simple process. You don't need to prepare papers, slides, or flip-charts. You will simply step forward and briefly describe the session you propose. You'll include just enough information to let people decide whether to attend - and no more. Generally, you need less than 30 seconds.

After presenting a summary of your proposed session, you will select a time and place from those available on our wall-display and post a notice there. As each person does the same, the Open Space agenda is born!


This year, in addition to the traditonal market-place wall, Open Space sessions will be posted online and accessible from your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

We ask that everyone attending our conference show up for this opening. It's important. You'll listen to the presentations and take note of those you would like to attend. As you listen, you may be inspired to present a session yourself. There are no deadlines or time limits: simply step up and describe your idea for a session.

Attending Sessions

At the end of the presentation, you will browse the notices on the wall and sign up to attend any sessions that interest you. Signing up for a session is optional. You may attend any session you like and even move between sessions (according to The Law).

Adding Sessions

You may add a session to the schedule at any time during the event by posting information about it in an available slot in the agenda. We'll have periodic announcements of any new or rescheduled sessions, but it's a good idea for all participants to keep an eye out for schedule changes as well.

New! At the opening of Open Space, we'll tell you how to add your new sessions to the electronic schedule.