18 Applications of Open Space in Product Development

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When I say “open space” in this context I am referring to taking the higher laws of Open Space Technology (rather than the mechanics per se of OST) and applying them to large teams, or multi-team program events where difficult coordination problems must be solved to handle the enormous complexity and risk of large scale agile approaches to product development.

Because events of this scale have costs that scale with the number of participants, it behooves the sponsor to wrap them inside of all the elements of OST and Open Space Agility.  Namely, extend a written invitation to every person in the organization, with a well-crafted theme, providing ample advanced notice, create the appropriate “guard rails” and psychological safety to unlock the most enlightened, creative mind of each participant, and harness the sense of responsibility of each contributor by authorizing “proceedings” be recorded for each breakout session at the event, with a commitment to respond promptly (2 business days, max.) to any Concerns, Agreements, Requests, Experiments, or Suggestions (CARES) documented therein.

In the next few weeks or months I will offer a detailed description of each of these program events.  The summary is as follows:

1. Wish A Thon/Refine-A-Thon: User story Mapping, Persona Mapping, User Journey Map, Road Mapping, Affinity Sizing using (Requirements Radio)

2. Risk-A-Thon +ROAM using  Game of 35* Bubble Up

3. Program Increment/Release Planning

4. Lands Work** – Tribal Grievances

5. Dead Serious Hack-A-Thon/Mob-A-Thon/Shark Tank -Under the table research projects

6. WoodStock Showcase & Release/Science Fair

7. I’m OK, You’re OK Stadium (Pair & Share the scare) Game of 35* Bubble Up

8. Bugs/Tech Debt on the Auction Block – NFR Bidding War

9. Tacit Tribal Knowledge Migration***  vs. JIT Documentation

10. Team Recruit-A-Thon  vs. Mgr. Horse Trading/Carve a kidney

11. Set DoD@Scale + Value Stream Mapping

12. A3 Root Cause Analysis + Design Experiments using “Station Rotation + Gallery Walk”  Tag Team in the Middle or Timed Snow Globe Shake”

13. Improv: Improvement Theater of the Oppressed + System Constellation

14. Leadership Kudo Telling @Scale

15. “What Would It Take?” Meeting

16. XCoP Kickstarter + Revitalization

17. Test Ketchup via. H. Kniberg Prioritization format

18. Mikado Mania****

*The Game called simply ’35’ was invented by an unknown facilitator, but is documented here.
**Lands Work was developed by the Center For Right Relationships, as a part of the ORSC (Organizational Relationship Systems Coaching) model and is described in the book, “Creating Intelligent Teams.

***From the author’s conversation with Richard Kasperowski circa Feb. 2016.
****The Mikado Method is described in the book of the same title by Ola Ellnestam and Daniel Brolund.

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