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Monday, August 3 • 10:45 - 11:15
Thank God it's Open Friday (Corinna Baldauf)

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What if people in your company shared their knowledge? What if you could turn drab meetings into high energy sessions? What if you could gather everyone you needed to discuss a problem without hassle and breaking their flow? What if you could try out new technologies easily?
What would you be willing to do to gain the above? We reach it by investing 10% of our time to hold an Open Space every other Friday. We're still thrilled with the results!
Come to this experience report if you'd like to know what challenges we faced and what benefits we reap now.
Learning Outcomes:
  • Inspire people to introduce slack time and give Open Space a try:
  • * Present a possible solution to the "No one in a Scrum team ever has time to work on tasks they think are important, if PO doesn't offer them to pick for sprint" problem
  • * Show a failed and a successful implementation of slack time
  • * Highlight the benefits of slack and recurring Open Spaces
  • My learnings from the 5 year journey toward slack:
  • * Slack time is great: positive energy; improved flow of information; benefits of tweaks that no PO would ever have prioritized but are supernice once you have them; further education - we employees train each other in new technologies ("Vagrant 101"), old technologies ("Show me your best bash trick") and the occasional unrelated topic ("Gardening") - In short it's a big staple in the "learning organization" endeavour
  • * We needed a little more structure (=Open Space) to reap the benefits. Our first unstructured attempt (just a "free" day) tanked pretty badly and wasn't even motivating
  • * Giving slack to everyone, not just devs improved communication and collaboration immensely. Got a problem? Probably only until next OF
  • * A lot less meetings - Many regular meetings to groom upcoming epics as well as ad-hoc meetings (eg to figure out an occasional but persistent bug) have become high energy Open Space sessions with only those people who are actually interested
  • My main takeaway is that for us the benefits of everyone being available on the same day every other week far outweighs the costs of that day. Instead of "Oh no, I potentially need people from 6 different teams to solve this, whenever will I catch them?" (Never!), today it's just "No problem, I'll just pitch a session next Friday" (Problem as good as solved).

avatar for Corinna Baldauf

Corinna Baldauf

Developer, sipgate
Corinna Baldauf has filled every Scrum role there is and is happiest as a developer. She's interested in lean, agile, systems thinking, communication, leadership & UX. Her best known contribution to the agile community is Retromat (plans-for-retrospectives.com). She hopes that one... Read More →

Monday August 3, 2015 10:45 - 11:15 EDT
Potomac 4