Each edition of this conference that passes, I enjoy more and more. It is a real pleasure to provide and facilitate the Open Space for the 70 or so Software Crafters, from across Europe and to share and learn together, in beautiful Gran Canaria.
As usual, we started the event on Thursday evening with a lightning talks session. Anybody present can choose to take to the stage and speak for 5-10 minutes on a topic that they are passionate about. It’s incredible, the amount of people happy to take the podium to provide topics and also to share their experiences.
After dinner, we had the world café group session to define what type of conference we all wanted. Four groups of 6-8 people were formed, each on a table with a blank poster. During the next 15 minutes they filled the poster with their ideas. Even though many did not know each other prior to this event, they began to share what they had learned during the last year and worked together to decide on the hot topics for this year. At the end of 15 minutes, the gong sounds and each table chose a representative, who stays at their table, and the rest get up and change groups. During the next 15 minutes session they start over again, adding on what they had previously written on the posters. At the end of the hour, we have four posters that reflect the learning of the last year and the learning needs for the future.
The next day, those who could not attend the world café could see in the posters what interests people. Which is very useful in order to decide issues to be presented during the marketplace. I will not go into too much on how an Open Space works. (If you are interested, leave a comment and I will write a separate article). What I will say is that it generates an energy and a climate of sharing and helping each other, that does not usually happen in other types of more standard conference formats.
After the first marketplace, we had all 5 streams and time slots filled with ideas, with some sessions spilling onto the beach (as usual). The gong gives the starting signal for the first sessions. In the afternoon, after all the sessions, we met again to share what we had learned and to thank those who have participated and hosted.
The first night there was a rock concert, that many of the people went to see. Which pushed back the ritual Mob Programming session to the second night. Twenty-two crafters still coding until 4AM. Yes, that’s correct… 4am on a Saturday.
In conclusion; what I enjoy most about this conference apart from the camaraderie and learning opportunities, is being able to host the annual ritual of closing on the beach. All in a circle, grateful for how much we have learned and with batteries charged for another year of professional challenges. The gong, protagonist of the conference as always, signals the end for another year.