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Agile Open Spain 2018 (from the trenches)

You are only as good as your team. And my team rocked the AOS.

tl;dr

I helped to organize the Agile Open Spain 2018 and I’m so proud of the result, the people I worked with, and everything. 🙌

Agile Open Spain is the biggest Open Space event in Spain, backed up by Agile Spain (the largest Agile community) and held annually. This year we wanted to extend it so it became a two-day event with additional activities and even a dinner with live music.

I couldn’t attend any talk/debate/activity, but I learned a lot of things. And I met a lot of great people. And I contributed to creating something unforgettable.

AOS 2018 welcome ceremony.

Less short version

I’ve had a hard time trying to explain no non-agilists the concept of Open Space.

“It’s like a conference, but there’s no schedule. The attendees are the ones proposing the sessions, we [the organizers] simply provide time and space”.

But it’s not “just” that.

I liked how Jordi Medina (our master of ceremonies) explained it when he was introducing the Open Space principles and rules. It all boils down to sharing, being open to being surprised, forget about your own constraints and having a great time. I’m sorry Jordi, I don’t recall the exact words — I was nervous and that feeling didn’t go away until people started proposing sessions for the marketplace.

Among other stuff, I was in charge of crafting the website (hooray for Lighthouse-driven development, 99/100 performance score) and also of the official Twitter account. Chief of Community Management.

Why did we decide to host the AOS 2018?

Last year we went to Segovia to enjoy the AOS 2017. There we had an outburst (it was a Friday evening — enough said) and decided to propose ourselves as organizers for the 2018 edition.

I haven’t regretted the decision a single time. The AOS flooded my agenda and made me step outside my comfort zone, but it was so worth it. We usually benefit from the community — events, talks, Meetups, workshops, even code. I wanted to give something back, something everyone could benefit from — that is, my time and effort.

And the result?

Well, check it out:

More pics in the AOS Twitter account

What I learned

I learned that there’s no such thing as a “small event”. We assumed an Open Space would be easy to coordinate. Lol nope. But hey — no regrets. We ended up exhausted but happy.

I learned that passionate people will always always always succeed. Passion and motivation trump everything else.

I learned about the openness of the Spanish agile community. They made everything so easy and comfortable. Everybody helped making the AOS awesome and they came with the right attitude.

I got to know better people who I usually meet at similar events. I was busy during the whole event, but I got time to say hi to almost everyone and we had our dose of fun on both Thursday and Friday night. People like these help you grow so fast by sharing experiences, challenging your opinions and providing valuable feedback.

I also learned that I’m gonna miss some people.

The feedback

Everyone was so nice. People enjoyed the venue, the talks, the food, the drinks, the activities…

We were afraid of the location. AOS 2018 was held in Caldes de Montbui, my hometown, and it was the first time we moved it away from a big city (such as Barcelona, Madrid, Segovia or Tenerife). It turned out there was nothing to be afraid of! People loved the place, didn’t get lost(!) and we were so proud to have all these amazing people visit our town.

Just watching all these people gathering, discussing, having fun and enjoying their time would’ve been enough. But in the end, they liked almost everything, and they provided quick feedback so we could iterate and improve their experience.

They did have some fun, huh?

From the organizing team: many thanks for making it so easy and funny. See you at the next event.

Look ma’, I’m on TV!

Thank you, everyone, for the kind words, the spirit and the willingness to enjoy. Thank you Elena, Xavi, Gastón, Àngel, Jordi, Oriol, Oriol and everyone else who volunteered to help us during the event.

Let’s meet each other again next year in BilbAOS 2019 ;)