Open Space Conversations at Balanced Team SF

At the Balanced Team meeting in San Francisco, our program consisted mostly of prepared presentations. Because dialog and participation are so important to us, we reserved some time Sunday afternoon to solicit conversation topics from the participants.

Over lunch, the group was asked to think about one or more “conversation topics you’d like to lead.” We collected these topics on sticky notes and put them on the wall. Each speaker briefly introduced the topic they wrote and then the group placed a pen mark on up to three of the topics they would like to participate in. (also called “dot voting”). The topics with the most dots were assigned rooms. People assembled in the rooms that interested them. The conversation hosts were encouraged to share back the outcome of their conversation with the group afterwards through a blog post and/or coverage on the event.

If you want to learn more about Open Space Technology, I encourage you to read this Wikipedia article.


Selected topics

These were the topics the group selected for conversation

  • Experiment Mapping workshop
  • Lean is for Discovery, Agile is for Delivery
  • Experience Wheel workshop
  • Let’s Create a framework for metrics driven design
  • Why is the Balanced Team conference not balanced? Does the split indicate that balanced team is a design insurgency? 60% design,20% dev, 20% pm. What about researchers and social scientists? There are only a handful here and yet they bring tremendous value to a “balanced team.” How do we really know? Can people share why they were drawn here this weekend? Maybe they don’t fit neatly into those categories\
  • Workload prioritization / management tools

Proposed Topics

These are the proposed conversations which were not selected. I include them here as a historical record and perhaps they will provide fodder for future presentations or blog posts?

  • What do you do when there really is a “lone genius” with a good vision? how can collaboration be facilitated?
  • What are the roles & handoffs of Product, UX and Development?
  • Human interactions collaborations and building relationships between team members
  • What’s this “Lean” thing?
  • Starting a balanced team: how to get organizational support for starting a balanced team process?
  • Why is design ‘never done?’
  • Horizontal vs vertical change
  • How is it possible to build trust in community?
  • Worst experiences in integrating customer & product development
  • What tools do you use? Prototyping, task management, remote communication
  • How can we use our design skills to help self-organizing teams design their process(es?)
  • How to collaborate with other UX peeps (i.e. user researcher, strategist, IA, UX designer, Ninja?)
  • What do you do / where do you go for UX inspirations?
  • Educating clients or non-UX people about UX while at work
  • How to deal with concensus & ownership moving forward (making progress) in an unbalanced team (and not)
  • Is lean-agile-balanced just serving intersets of capital
  • Documentation when you’re moving so fast. How do you keep track of decisions/data over time?
  • Common language across teams, business/dev./design & stakeholders
  • Next event BTNY2014
  • Ways to get Lean / Agile to wider community
  • Mock-ups are lies! Work in the medium
  • Process share
  • How do you reconcile business needs and user needs?
  • Cognitive illusions that screw up our work
  • Mind-time & Build-measure learn & collaboration
  • When are high-fidelity mockups appropriate / useful / most efective
  • Systemizing UX techniques
  • Lean is from Product, Agile is from Engineers. What does Design contribute?
  • Staying balanced when scattered: tools & techniques for remotely distributed teams
  • Discovery: How does a balanced team functino as a whole in the ideation / customer discovery phase?
  • What is “good design” Journal paper review and conversation
  • How to be Lean/Agile w/o sprints/iterations
  • How much design should be done in the browser?
  • UXing vs. PMing: User reserarch to drive features? Product strategy, marketing
  • What does “design thinking” mean to you?
  • How do you continuously get customers invoved in B2B (bribes, fame?)
  • “Design Enough” with the spectrum of design product – what is enough?
  • Pitching design thinking to close new accounts
  • The roles of Sales / BD in a balanced team

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