Open Space is without a doubt my kind of conference. You do not sit listening to someone else talk; instead, you engage in the discussion. Personally, I think this is by far a more exciting way to learn about a subject.
Helping govern Open Space are four principles and a law: this law, known as the Law of Two Feet or Mobility, is one I find useful outside of Open Space.
The Law is the so called Law of Two Feet, which states simply, if at any time you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing – use you two feet and move to some place more to you liking.
– Opening Space for Emerging Order, Harrison Owen
Nearly every client I have worked with has started with too many meetings. Everyone I talk to thinks so. One had meetings to arrange meetings! My response is simple, bring in the Law of Two Feet for any meeting. Regardless of who called the meeting, if you are not adding or gaining value then do something more fruitful.
At first, this is rarely popular. Team members are not sure what will happen to them if they just leave. Managers rarely believe their meetings are not worthwhile. No one likes me politely excusing myself.
After a little while, and with the team experimenting, in their meetings, they start to see benefits and become less distracted. With only those needed attending meetings, more time was available to spend on developing the product, leading to a faster throughput of stories. Meetings become more focused and end sooner.
So far it has been hard to argue with the results.
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