Retrospective Report: Agile Open California

aocalogo.jpgI just finished reviewing the notes from last week’s Agile Open California conference retrospective: what an amazing journey!  One of the many interesting discoveries was the fact that it was almost exactly 9 months from conception of the conference to delivery: some cycle times just can’t be improved on!

Here’s how we did the retrospective:

Participants – Conference organizing team (including me, all volunteers) and an outside facilitator.

Logistics – 2-hour conference call (team was spread geographically)

Preparation – 2 surveys (SurveyMonkey), 1 sent to all conference participants and 1 to organizing team members.  Survey results were distributed several days before the retrospective and the Facilitator sent some pre-work questions and an Agenda one week before.

The meeting started with Appreciations.  We used this time to appreciate and/or acknowledge the specific work of other team members.  A great way to get started.

Next we created a Timeline.  Starting with the initial idea to have the conference, we each added what we felt were the key/important events (positive or negative), all the way through until the conference occurred (Jan. 31- Oct 14).   We talked about how we felt about the events, what led up to them and what the effects were.

During the Timeline discussion we identified answers to two questions – What would we do the same way next time and What would we do differently next time?

From this learning (and considering What still puzzles us and What needs further discussion) we created Action Items for going forward to hold Agile Open California 2008.

b-resolution.jpgI made a 2007 New Year resolution to do one thing every year that would totally freak me out.   As the Conference Organizer (a hybrid project manager-scrum master) and the Open Space Facilitator I had a lot of responsibility and new things to learn/adjust to… so success – a frenzied, fabulous freak!  Was the reward in synch with the investment?  ABSOLUTELY!

What do you have planned for 2008?  What would you do if you trusted yourself more?

Check out the conference website if you’re interested in how Open Space works or would like to review the proceedings.

If you’d like to know more about helping out with the 2008 conference, contact me through the link on



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