Open Spaces and the Fish Bowl

Recently I became aware of the concepts used in conference and meeting that I am falling in love with. The Open Spaces conference style and the Fish Bowl Dialog utilized by ALT.NET in their recent conference.

Chris Patterson, a collegue, has posted about his experience at the ALT.NET Open Spaces event, titled Open Spaces In Practice. I was extremely impressed with his description of the Fish Bowl meeting style. He has posted on his blog about the experience. I am going to try this in a few meeting, our user group and some of my team project meetings.

While researching I found the Unconference Blog by Kaliya where she has post regarding Unconference. Methods: The Fish Bowl Dialog. Her blog is focus on unconventional style meetings and conferences as the description of her blog stats:

The name "unconference" arose to describe conferences that step outside of the more traditional model -- that is, presentations selected months beforehand, sponsors buying speaking slots, boring panels of talking heads, and high fees.

So, of course I check out the ALT.NET Open Spaces Conference site. I love the description of the Open Spaces Conference style:

Whoever shows up is the right group. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have. Whenever it starts is the right time. When it's over, it's over.

An Open Space conference's agenda is decided upon by the conference participants during the opening of the event.

I have been in contact with Chris and want hope to utilize this style of dialog in my team meetings, and would love to put on an Open Spaces conference in Northwest Arkansas. I have been talking to everyone I know about this and trying to learn more. I will continue to post more info as I learn more.

Microsoft Certification Cram Sessions

Recently I viewed a MCP Live Meeting: Certification 101: Getting Started with Microsoft Certification event. Today I got an email with the following info I thought it would be cool to pass along regarding certification cram sessions.

IF YOU ARE IT PRO: CLIENT, SUPPORT, and/or NEW TO MICROSOFT Register for Exam 70-620: Windows Vista, Configuring cram session on May 20, 7:30 A.M. Pacific Time.

IF YOU ARE IT PRO: ENTERPRISE and/or INFRASTRUCTURE-FOCUSED Register for Exam 70-640: Windows Server 2008 Active Directory, Configuring cram session on May 21, 7:30 A.M. Pacific Time

IF YOU ARE A DEVELOPER Register for Exam 70-536: Microsoft .NET Framework-Application Development Foundation cram session on June 11, 7:30 AM Pacific Time

INETA Birds of a Feather Session Accepted!

The request I submitted to moderate a Birds-of-a-Feather session at the TechEd 2008 Developers in Orlando, FL titled 'Breaking down Silos by Creating Internal User Groups' has been accepted.

The BOF session is scheduled 6/3/2008 4:45 PM - 6:00PM. I have been spending a lot of time this year trying to understand the things that hinder projects in our corporate environment. One of the places I have identified is that silo-ing teams, which can allow for specialization of a skill set, can also introduce impediments to a project. Isolating teams who need to collaborate often fosters mistrust between them, and the added frustration and rigor of work request can cause teams to fall into practices that are bad for the team and the company.

I am very interested in hearing if other companies are experiencing this, I know they are ;-), and how they are mitigating it. That will be the focus of this session. I expect to hear some horror stories and hopefully some good techniques to handle this problems. Thanks to INETA for giving me the chance to lead a BOF session.

INETA Speakers Bureau Podcast Project

Didn't see that I had posted this so, I figured it was about time I did. I was approached by David Walker at the Community Leader Summit held in Dallas, TX to join the INETA Speaker Bureau and help them get a speaker focused Podcast up and going. I have been working with the Rob Zelt (INETA Live!) to line out some hosting details, but we are beginning make progress.

I feel very privileged and want to extend my thanks to David Walker and INETA for giving me this opportunity.

Keep watching for more announcements.

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Arkansas MVP: Randy Walker

I want to take a moment to let everyone know that Randy Walker has received the Microsoft MVP for VB .NET.  Congratulations Randy, this is well deserved.   Thanks for all the things you have and are doing for the Northwest Arkansas .NET User Group and INETA. 

You can check out Randy's blog here

Again well deserved!

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