Mike MacDonagh's Blog

Somewhere in the overlap between software development, process improvement and psychology

Open Space as the PDC

I really like this idea:

Open Space

Open Space is a way to bring together groups of people interested in a common topic to have an interactive discussion. In an Open Space session, there may be an expert who is passionate about a topic presenting to an audience or there may be a small group of people discussing an idea.

Four principles of Open Space:

  1. Whoever comes are the right people to be there
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened
  3. Whenever it starts is the right time
  4. When it’s over, it’s over

All you need to do is suggest topics onsite that you wish to discuss and participate in sessions that sound interesting to you. It’s the unconference with content by attendees, for attendees.

That quote comes from this page about UnSessions at the upcoming Microsoft PDC in LA. I went to the last one a few years ago and I’ve been to a few of the IBM Rational RSDC’s and this idea really works for me. I’d like to see that kind of thing going on at the RSDC too.

I’m in two minds as to whether to go to this PDC or not (they don’t happen every year unlike the RSDC, or TechEd). It was certainly extremely valuable going to the last one but this time around I find myself conflicted between needing to grok all things Jazz and similarly needing to grok all things VSTS/TFS, not to mention that I’m a c# developer at heart so I like to keep up with all the techie stuff in the MS space. At the moment I’m thinking that someone from IJI should go but probably not me. If you go, make sure you attend any session or unsession that Anders Hejlsberg is running, he’s always really interesting to listen to and has a brain the size of a planet.

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