Last week, I spent Thursday (4/23/15) and Friday (4/24/15) at DevOpsDaysRox. If you've never attended a DevOpsDays events - find your closest one here and signup now.

So what makes DevOps Day special? First, you'll find an active community that prides itself on inclusion and making everyone feel welcome. Second, you'll find industry leaders, podcast hosts & great sponsors. Third, if you're looking for new team members or looking to find a new team - I can't think of a better way to recruit or be recruited within the DevOps community.

With all that said, there was one thing that really stood out for me, and that was Open Spaces. If you happened to look at the program on the DevOpsDaysRox - you'll notice that close to 5 hours of time was scheduled for Open Spaces.

So what are Open Spaces?

OpenSpaces are first organized by forming a line and handing out a few packs of sticky notes. Basically, you write down the topic you want to talk about on the sticky note, step up to the mic, "sell" your topic to the crowd and then place the sticky note on a board.

Yup. This is where the magic happens. This is where instead of just being an attendee you actually get to talk and participate in the conference. You can pick any topic you would like - things that you want to learn more about, or topics that you've already got some experience in and want to share with others. It's all open.

Once all the topics are gathered, the organizer then groups the topics and gets a sense from the audience as to what topics other members would like to attend. Based on this feedback, space is allocated appropriately. Big topics with lots of interest probably end up in the main hall. Smaller topics end up in ancillary areas. A schedule is published - and boom, everyone is turned loose.

I attended several of these OpenSpace talks and the more I attended, the more impressed I was. I found everyone to be considerate and I felt like everyone had a voice. Naturally, a few people emerged as leaders within a given group - but I never felt like I was being lectured at. It was really just a free exchange of ideas amongst a group of professionals.

The most important thing for me was - I felt like I had a stronger connection with my fellow attendees. For a conference with over 240 people attending - that was a great feeling.

Based on this experience, here at Scout we're already looking forward to more Dev Ops Days. Our plan right now is to attend Minneapolis and Chicago. Hope to share an Open Space with a lot of you in the near future!

Photo: PÃ¥l-Kristian Hamre, Dev Ops Days Rome 2012 Original