Roland Dürre
Wednesday August 28th, 2013

barcamps and PM Camp (5) – Rules

Here is the last of my articles on barcamp in general and PM Camp in particular. So far, I wrote how I first started with barcamps (1), why they – and in particular the PM Camps – are such a success (2), what typical types of sessions there are (3) and how social media such as twitter and barcamps go together (4).

Today’s article is about a few finishing comments.

What do I have to be careful about?

Well, there is not much. Of course, remembering the manners your parents taught you will not do any harm at a barcamp. At a PM Camp, this goes without saying. Also, it is always a good idea to stick by the rule you all know from Metaplan: “everybody is everybody’s butler”. Other than that, a barcamp, as well as the PM Camp, is an open event; nobody has to do anything they do not wish to do.

As always in life, cooperative behaviour is more helpful than trying for complicity. Every participant will decide by himself to what degree he wishes to integrate himself in the process. There is no obligation to chair a session. When attending their first PM Camp, many participants are totally silent, just listening – until the spell is broken and all of a sudden “consumers become producers”. Mostly, the time for this comes surprisingly fast.

There is also something I would like to say about planning a session:

If you are a first-timer or very shy, I would advise you to try your own session early on, even if you yourself see the topic as not yet well-enough thought-through. Mostly, showing courage early will be rewarded. On the other hand, I would ask the “old hands” to wait as long as possible before filling up the last slots. Some participants just take a little longer to find the courage. And it is always a pity if there is no room for new contributions, just because someone else was unnecessarily impatient.

Similar to twittering, there are a few things you should also keep in mind.

As a general rule, the organization team of a PM Camp will propose that the participants thou and thee each other. This creates closeness and facilitates the communication. It makes sense for a community where everybody wants the same and you all wish to share openly and honestly your most precious commodity: experience and knowledge. For me, a PM Camp is like a soccer match – and in sports, thou-ing and thee-ing each other comes quite natural. Most quick matches and co-working experiments will run smoother for it.

If one participant, however, prefers to be addressed in the formal way, this is, of course, accepted. But no matter how you address each other, you should always keep in mind that respecting the party at the opposite end is the central value. Violating someone’s honour cannot be tolerated, not even in the thick of things. And if it happens, you have to correct it immediately.

Thus, PM Camp will force its visitors to show a healthy degree of empathy and “altero-centrism”. With this, I mean that you should push your own person a little to the back while opening up for the values, expectations, interests and needs of others.

Consequently:

Participate and bring some courage. Accept the joy and humour, add to them and hand them on! There is no need to wear a “mask”, because on a PM Camp, this is not necessary. Respect and honour each other like yourself. Give and receive knowledge and experience. If all this happens, nothing can go wrong!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

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