On Saturday, the Toronto Agile Software Development Community had its inaugural Open Space event called Agile Open Toronto. It went really well. Lot’s of positive feedback and of course tips for improving next time.

The purpose of this post is to share how the event was run for attendees and other Open Space enthusiasts.

Setting up the Space

As a not-for-profit, the City of Toronto provided us with a great space for free.  You can see us setting up below.

Empty Board

Rather than follow the suggested approach of an unstructured bulletin board, we elected to create a grid. Why? We find techies get really frustrated and will sort sessions by time anyway. Note that some of the session slots are marked reserved and only get opened up once there are enough sessions to run all day.

Lawrence Welcomes Everyone

Long-time host of XPToronto/Agile meetings opened the space.

Michael and Gino Pair Facilitate

We pair program, we pair test, we pair coach. We really like working together since it provides variety for listeners and it’s easier to remember everything between the two of us. As you can see, we are walking in a circle to set the tone and explain how open space works.

The Initial Rush

Once the call to action is given, there is a rush of motion and energy as people write session proposals.

The Board at the end of the day

Here’s what the board looked like at the end of the day. You can click on it to see a hi-res version and read the session titles.

Many thanks to all the volunteers: Edwin, Farooq, Tom, Bob, Micrea and others who arrived early and helped out. (If I forgot you, remind me and I’ll add your name)