Tag: open space

The worst presentation ever

The worst presentation ever

Last week, I attended Agile Games New England. The last day of the conference uses Open Space Technology which is the best way to organize and run a conference.

With an Open Space, all attendees are active participants. They define the program and choose which sessions to contribute. They also have the freedom to leave a session when they think they are not learning or contributing. This is known as “The law of 2 feet” or “The law of mobility.”

I chose to propose two sessions for the Open Space:

One with Isabel Monville, to play a game with the participants: Kanjis. This one went great and I will come back to that session in a future post.

One by myself to discuss my book: Changing Your Team From The Inside. This one was the worst presentation I ever made.

What happened?

I picked the first time available, and so it was one of the first sessions of the day. When you attend an open space, and especially for the first time, you are confronted to a last minute choice of your first session. At the same time, you just heard about the law of two feet, and the roles of bees and butterfly.

  • A bee is a person that goes from breakout session to breakout session, maybe collaborating with some groups and cross-fertilizing ideas that come from another group.
  • A butterfly is a person that does not take part in any breakout at the moment to fulfill her own needs. Sometimes butterflies cluster in impromptu sessions and make groundbreaking insights.

You can choose not to attend any session and be a bee or a butterfly whenever you want. The freedom of choice brings some people to select late and to switch room frenetically hoping to find the best possible spot. All people also need to discover the space. After one session, it seems that everybody adjusts, and the last minute’s changes at the beginning of the next sessions are less disruptive.

I chose a small room with a triangle-shaped table so we could have a good conversation.

I started 2 or 3 minutes after 10. And just after I started people entered the room, and left the room for the next 5 minutes. Each time they tried to open the door they were pulling the handle instead of pushing. A bad design choice, if the door needs to be pushed, it should be a plate, not a vertical handle that suggests the door should be pulled.

Do you see what is going on there? I blame the circumstances. I try to justify what happens. If I continue down that path, I will learn nothing. A quick look at the Responsibility Process can help in that situation. It works this way:

  • Responsibility Owning your ability and power to create, choose, and attract
  • Quit Giving up to avoid the pain of Shame and Obligation
  • Obligation Doing what you have to instead of what you want to
  • Shame Laying blame onto oneself (often felt as guilt)
  • Justify Using excuses for things being the way they are
  • Lay Blame Holding others at fault for causing something
  • Denial Ignoring the existence of something

What really happened?

I started my presentation, and two sentences after the start, I was confused and changed my initial plan, tried to mumble through all the chapters without giving any airtime to the participants.

I knew it was not going well. During the previous days, I had the opportunity to sit next to a person who was taking beautiful notes in her notebook. Before the beginning of the session, I nudge her to be our notetaker for the session. During the session, I had her notes in front of me reflecting the growing confusion in which all people in the room were probably.

Someone tried to save the session. She found her way to interrupt me and the notetaker, asked questions, and put the session on a better track. Thank you!

What did I want to say initially?

This book equips you to make a positive change in your organization starting from the one place you can guarantee success – you.

The book is structured in three parts: The Individual, The Team, and The Organization.

Each chapter turns insight into actions that you can use straight away to build momentum and create lasting change from yourself to your team, from your team to other teams, and from other teams to the entire organization.

If you’re looking to make a change in your organization but don’t know where to begin, worried that nobody will listen to you, or fear you’ll burn bridges along the way then Changing Your Team From The Inside will give you a plan, increase your influence, and help you build high impact, sustainable relationships in the process.

This book has everything you need to build high impact, sustainable teams.

Jim Kwik said:

If an egg is broken by outside force, life ends. If broken by inside force, life begins. Great things always begin from inside.

I shared this belief that great things always begin from inside.

After that introduction, my goal was to open the floor to questions and facilitate the conversation from there, bringing more details of what you can find in each part of the book.

It seems that I was not ready to say just that. And as I was not prepared enough to deliver the message. I failed to deliver it.

Interestingly, even if I knew that it was not going well, I was not able to stop myself and ask to start over.

Something that I want to be sure to work on.

ALE15 best conference this year

ALE15 best conference this year

I am just back from ALE15, the fifth edition of the self organized conference from the Agile Lean Europe network. As usual, I feel really good when I am back, as if this edition was the best edition ever… I am started to get used to this feeling, as I only missed one edition, in 2013, since the beginning of the adventure.

Why is it so special ? And what happens there ?

Well, there’s a lot of things that I can highlight.

First of all, it’s self-organized. It means that anybody can contribute to the organization of the event. For each event several people gather on a sofa, and those people will work together to achieve the mission of this particular sofa.
For example, I (with others) was involved in the program sofa, some others where involved in the finance sofa, others in the marketing sofa, and others in the spouses and kids sofa.
When you choose to contribute to a sofa, you can contribute with 5 minutes of your time with a suggestion, or invest a lot more, the choice is yours, just know that when your drop the ball, the others must know it so they can handle.
On this picture, you can see the list of the organizers of this year event. A big up to my peers ! It was great to do this with you !

Second, there’s a spouses and kids program, it means that you will see kids running in the conference venue alley, attending conferences, playing games, and even speak on stages. It means that it’s a conference where you can be yourself among your peers and your family. Kids love this, as my daughter ask each year if we are going the next one. The conference is planned end August, just before the kids are back to school, especially for this purpose.

Third, a part of the program is reserved to the open space format, so that the program of the conference is defined by the most important thing for the participant at this particular moment. This year, I had the pleasure to facilitate the open space with my friend Pablo. It was great and our experiments worked quite well.
Experiment One, as there’s people from all over Europe (and more) we asked them to demonstrate the babel opportunity by pitching their topics first in their mother tongue and then in English. This was amazing to see the difference in body language between the two pitches, and it was a lot more energizing and fun to hear some language your are not used to hear (not at all for some).

Experiment Two, as we were around 180 people for the open space, we knew that there will be 12 groups (at minima) in parallel and we wanted all those groups to share their findings with the whole. We asked them to prepare a restitution of their work on a flip board paper, and to summarize it with a tweet with #ale15 hashtag. We organized 20 minutes global restitution after each of the 40 minutes sessions. It worked well, it was interesting and it helped for sure to improve the participation and the quality of the work done. You can see the result if you look for the #ale15 hashtag on Twitter.
Experiment Three, as we think with Pablo that one of the big benefit of the open space in enterprise was that the group has a common purpose, we tried to propose a common theme to the ALE15 Open Space… and it didn’t work at all… But we survive as it was a survivable experiment 😉

And then, obviously some magical content from great speakers and from great discussions.

Putting some words on weird feeling like Chris Matts in his opening speech on day 1, when he explained how the agile movement evolution using the adoption model and others and why all the « scale agile » thing was ahead in time suggesting framework before the stories where really there. In this blog post from Chris you can discover more in detail the idea behind.

Or the integrating talk by Olaf Lewitz, where we experiment memorization exercise : « options have value, options expires, never commit early unless you know why » that was twitted several times, when he demonstrates that balance and polarization was wrong and that we should look for integration.

Inspiration for our future work that we should bring slowly back in our day to day work as advised by Rachel Davies in her closing keynote speech.

I also had the great pleasure to play once again the Deming Red Bead Experiment, great experience and great conversation. Deming Principles are still so relevant!

What’s next ?

ALE16 of course, you will be able to contribute to the organization of the next event by sitting on one of the sofas. Stay tuned and follow :
Agile Lean Europe (ALE) on linkedin and/or on Twitter

PS : This edition was quite hard on a personal level as my loving partner Isabel (in life and also in business) endured a devastating medical episode. I thank her for her support as she asked me to go for the commitment I had made to the ALE community and also to let our daughter have fun with her peers in the kids program.

Open Space @ AgileTour Bordeaux

Open Space @ AgileTour Bordeaux

L’édition 2014 de l’AgileTour Bordeaux se déroulait pour la première fois sur 2 jours.  Le samedi après-midi était consacré à un Open Space (ou Forum Ouvert) que l’équipe d’organisation m’a proposé de faciliter.

Qu’est-ce qu’un Open Space ?

L’Open Space est une méthode pour structurer les conversations d’un groupe de personnes. Vous pouvez trouver plus d’information sur la fiche Wikipedia ou sur la fiche OpenSpaceWorld.

Le déroulement de celui de Bordeaux :

  • Ouverture
  • Proposition des sujets et construction de la place de marché
  • Première session d’ateliers (4 en parallèle) – 45 minutes
  • Restitution à l’ensemble du groupe
  • Revue de la place de marché
  • Deuxième session d’ateliers (5 en parallèle) – 45 minutes
  • Restitution à l’ensemble du groupe
  • Cloture


De très bons retours sur cet Open Space avec notamment :

  • L’envie d’en organiser d’autres au cours de l’année (et même dans d’autres domaines que l’agilité)
  • L’envie d’utiliser le principe des  restitutions à l’ensemble du groupe pour d’autres événements
  • La satisfaction des personnes ayant participé (qui voulait tous recommender à leurs amis de participer à un Open Space)
  • Les retours de Chris Deniaud
  • Les retours d’Isabel Monville

Très heureux que cela ait bien fonctionné pour ce deuxième Open Space de la semaine pour moi, puisque j’en avais facilité un le mercredi pour l’équipe eNovance à Paris 🙂

Contrat Creative Commons
Les articles publiés ici sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Paternité 3.0 non transcrit.