PMI® Switzerland Chapter

PMP Open Space event February

PMP Open Space event February

Author: Patryk Nosalik, PMP

Patryk Nosalik

With so much disruption going on, where can you discuss the fundamentals of your everyday PMP practice? At PMI Open Spaces (OS)!


Since many of you like the interactive workshops where you can make network connections, whilst being heard in a safe space, we are starting 2021 with a bimonthly cycle of Open Spaces.

Last year we broached Agile topics, we went far out on the role of the Product Owner.  We found this on one hand ‘sexy’ but on the other maybe not so many of us actually are or have had much to do with all forms of Agility.  Yet most of us are, or hope to become, Project Management Professionals, so in conducting a retrospective of our last session, we want to start with something probably more relevant to all of us.

How many of you find that… you don’t use all of the knowledge areas covered by the PMBOK in your daily work? Yet are you fascinated by those areas?

Or, when flashing your PMP credential, may it be that the new project / new employer/ new client, could expect your expertise where maybe you haven’t had so much practice recently?

Or particularly in Switzerland, where so many PMI members are of an international background, would you like specific help on Swiss stakeholder management? Or even, are you Swiss and would like to put these international PMs straight?

Or have you found that the application of a particular knowledge area or technique is more problematic in your particular environment than you had thought just from learning about it? And despite the forthcoming changes in the new PMBOK, you still need to know the fundamentals of project management. 


So, this is why we feel there is a need to provide a safe space to address these potential issues and questions you may have. In order to make sure it is safe, i.e. that you may want to share some of the things that you find difficult, we are making some improvements to our meeting:

  • No recording – no, you won’t see the event after the event. You are free to share secrets and it stays within the few people in your breakout room.
  • Smaller breakout rooms – it is easier to open up to a few people than to many, so we will open many small break out rooms to create the necessary intimacy and so you can build trust more easily with your colleagues.
  • It may sound obvious, but we’ll facilitate an ice-breaker so you know who you are sharing your know-how with, and this will help you make good network connections, something you can’t always do at a typical webinar.
  • We only have the topics that you bring, in this way we don’t have issues someone else found interesting but could be irrelevant for you. So do come armed with your real-life problems you want solved by your trusted expert colleagues.

We can go over any topics you have, as that is how an Open Space works. Since we also like to share the know-how of the facilitation format as much as we see value in its outcome, I provide here the Open Spaces principles and how this next session is to be run.  Of course you can adapt to your own needs in your company. Usual purposes of these are to use the collective intelligence of all the participants, not hampered by hierarchy or silo, such as for creative ventures, problem solving and retrospectives.


OS Principles:

  • Whoever comes is the right people
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  • When it starts is the right time* 
  • When it's over, it's over **
  • The Law of Two Feet ***

Now since they were devised for a physical environment, I here offer adaptations to an online format: 

* We will start on time, but when we go to breakout-rooms within the event may vary  

** We will probably go on until the allocated time, but we can give ourselves the flexibility in the future

*** “The Law…” this refers to the possibility of using your “two feet” to go elsewhere if you want to add or gain value elsewhere, so online this would mean going between breakout rooms at the event. If leaving the event altogether, for the benefit of learning so important in agility, please do let us know why you leave if you do, it would be most kindly appreciated.


Proposed OS format for 18th February: 

  1. All participants start in one room with an introduction of the theme to be addressed.
  2. All participants introduce themselves in say 10-30 seconds (depending on numbers) say name, position, company, what is the main thing they’re coming with  (a summary, not the detailed question or case study at this stage).
  3. The participants are invited to add their questions for discussion to the backlog 
  4. The Backlog of items to be discussed is in the hands of the facilitator and could be visible to all.
  5. Participants can add to the backlog either on own or via organiser or facilitator depending on the set up chosen.
  6. A backlog of items can either be collected in advance or from the participants, or brought in for the meeting, (on the 18th we will do it at the meeting itself) in which case a part of the time of the session is for this backlog creation.
  7. Facilitator will take a few items, create breakout rooms for each, and participants may go to any room they like.
  8. The room will be held open for a short time, say 5-10 minutes.
  9. The person whose question it is, should ask it to the group to get answers and clarify any uncertainties until they get the required understanding. 
  10. Anyone else in the room can answer, comment, and so on.
  11. Discussion for each item is timeboxed to a predetermined several minutes, i.e. 5-10 minutes.
  12. People can change rooms (law of two feet).
  13. At the end of the time, everyone comes back to the main room.
  14. Facilitator takes the next few items to be addressed, and the rooms are recreated for the new items.
  15. Participants can add to the backlog at any time.
  16. At the end, everyone should reconvene for a general Q&A / feedback sharing.

Now whilst the theme is classic PMP areas, Open Spaces themselves are an agile meeting format, so we do reserve the right to some changes on the 18th, and that’s ok. If this event goes well, we’d like to hear of participants' engagement to fuel topics for further themes to these cyclical drop-in interactive events made by PMI Switzerland for you, be it around classic PMP or agile PM topics. In the meantime, see you 18th February!


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