Time for a project managers open space event?

See the update from 4 November at the bottom of the post

I’m thinking we need to have a project managers open space day. There seem to be plenty of unconferences for developers and coaches to attend, but I’ve only seen one in Austria that a friend is helping to organise in a few weeks time where project managers can raise and discuss the issues concerning them. I’m thinking, why wait? I’d like to propose such an event for late November, early December at the University of Aberdeen. If this works, which I think it might, then we organise a follow up in the summer based on lessons learned from this first run at the event.

This would be a day for beginners as well as experienced project managers and everyone in between to come and share what they know with fellow practitioners. The new can learn from the old, and the old can see things again through the eyes of the newcomers.

I’m thinking the day should have a mixture of proposed talks that are selected by a small group of willing volunteers for the morning, followed by a round of 3 minute long lightning talks on whatever people wanted to highlight. The lightning talks could be used to ‘recruit’ people for the open space topics that followed later. Using this format participants could volunteer a longer ‘solo’ talk on their topic, and others would have a chance to raise the issues of concern to them too.

Topics that I’m thinking people might want to talk about would be:

* agile versus traditional projects

* beyond budgeting aspects for projects

* organised versus self-organising teams

* planning versus unfolding events

The day could look like this:

gather for coffee and registration 9:30-10

two parallel talks 10-10:30

coffee till 10:45

two parallel talks 10:45-11:15

coffee till 11:30

two parallel talks 11:30-12

lunch 12-13:00

lightning talks 13:00-13:30 for anyone to talk on a topic for 3 minutes

open space proposals 13:30-14:00

14:15-15:00 first rounds of two/three parallel open spaces

coffee till 15:15

15:15-16:00 second round of two/three open spaces

coffee till 16:15

16:15-17:00 third round of two/three open spaces

17:00-17:15 concluding remarks

Maybe this is the right structure for the day, or maybe it needs more open spaces and fewer proposed talks. I’m only throwing this out there for discussion, as one proposal. I’d like some comments on it from others, along with another person who’d like to help pull this together.

Right now I need to know a number of things:

First, tell me if you’re interested in the idea, or think it would be a waste of time.

Second, tell me if you want to help make this happen so that we can take this forward.

Third, if you’re interested, and think you or your company might want to help with sponsorship to make it happen, then definately get in touch.

UPDATE: This idea is now going ahead on Saturday, 26 November 2011 – sign up at http://pmcampaberdeen2011.eventbrite.co.uk/

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