Open Friday

Open Friday Board

Would you like to get rid of meetings and scheduling hell? Do you want an easy, energizing way of collecting ideas, spreading knowledge and solving problems?

We've achieved this with "Open Friday", a bi-weekly Open Space. Read on to learn how! Or switch to the German version.

Deutsch / German

Examples for Sessions

Questions & Answers

What if nobody pitches a session?

That's highly unlikely! Still, there are a couple of things to can do before the first Open Space to make success very likely:

1) Educate your colleagues about what's to come, e.g. with this 1-pager!. Or visit a BarCamp to see Open Space mechanisms at work.

2) Ask a couple of people to pitch a session so that others will follow their example and there's no awkward pause in the beginning.

3) Make "What session are you going to pitch on Friday? Any ideas?" your conversation starter. For this to work, you have to be genuinely curious about the answer!

What if there are too many session proposals?

It hasn’t happened to us yet. What has happened is that people at the end of the proposal queue defer their proposal to the next Open Friday if the board is already very full. This only works for none-urgent sessions.

It does happen sometimes at barcamps and unconferences. I’ve seen two ways to deal with it:

You either create more slots, e.g. with a new room (“at the end of the corridor”) or new time slot (“lunch slot”). The advantage is that every topic gets discussed, even if there’s only two people interested in it. This honors the original intention of Open Spaces.

Or you only present topics in the beginning without assigning slots. After a round of dotvoting you assign slots in the order of interest in the topics. The least popular topics don’t get a slot.

What if a session takes all day?

Next to the schedule we have another board for sessions that take place in a team room. These often take all day.

What do you write on the big sticky notes for the session?

The sticky note just says 2 things: Session title and session host, e.g. "Git for beginners (Aline)".

Apart from setting the topic, the session host has the sacred duty to document the session for posterity.

How many slots do you have?

5 time slots in 4 rooms – 10:15, 11:15, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm. Opening ceremony is at 10am. Closing ceremony is at 4pm. (We're 120 people.)

How do you document sessions?

Whatever floats your boat. How do you share information right now? Emails? Wiki? Google Docs? We use Yammer (a per-company social network), because we use it for lots of other purposes, too.

What matters is that it's central - known to and accessible for all. Searchability is a big plus.

The documentation itself is usually a short text summary, photos of whiteboards and some such.

Does Open Friday work when you're very few people?

What itch do you want to scratch with Open Friday? Depending on your needs, several ideas come to mind: Have fewer session slots; Brown bag lunches with rotating - internal or external - speakers; Teaming up with another small company to reach critical mass ...

What about remote employees?

Tricky! Do you have times when you all meet? Maybe you can utilize these.

Others have one laptop per remote worker that their on-site colleagues carry around for them. At the very least they can attend and in the best case they can even host a session (if their on-site buddy handles the sticky business for them. Pun intended :).

How did you come up with Open Friday?

You can read the history of Open Friday in English or German.

Could we come visit you on an Open Friday?

Sure. Email Stefan and Corinna!

Your question is still unanswered?

Email Stefan and Corinna!

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