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Design Summit

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At Design Summits the developers community gathers to brainstorm the requirements for the next release, discuss the implementation details and connect with other community members. The OpenStack Foundation offers a Travel Support Program to help cover travel expenses.

Next Design Summit

  • Liberty Design Summit, May 19-22, 2015 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. See liberty-specific details at Design_Summit/Liberty.

How does the Design Summit work?

The Design Summit is a part of the OpenStack Summit. It is not a classic conference track with speakers and presentations. Developer teams brainstorm the topics they need to cover and get alignment on. The agenda is collaboratively reviewed and then scheduled by the program technical leads (PTLs). Those scheduled sessions can include the presentation of a few slides but are generally a 40-min long, open brainstorming discussion on a given subject or feature. If you care about a particular subject, please join. Due to the nature of the event, the schedule is a bit dynamic, so check out the summit schedule pages often.

If you suggest a session, you should be ready to moderate that session and make sure the discussion stays on track. Experienced developers will generally help in that endeavor, but you should plan to attend that session yourself.

The Design Summit is not the right place to get started or learn the basics of OpenStack. For that it's better to check the various OpenStack meetups organized by user groups around the world or attend the other tracks of the OpenStack Summit.


The Design Summit sessions fall into several pre-defined topics, generally one for each official OpenStack project team. Visit the summit-specific page (link at the top of this page) for a list of the topics for the next Design Summit.

Session types

There are three types of sessions at the Design Summits:

Fishbowl sessions

Those are open sessions to discuss a specific feature or issue we have to solve. They happen in large rooms organized in fishbowl style (concentric rings of chairs). People wanting to participate to the discussion should move to the inner rings.

Work sessions

Work sessions are smaller gatherings of teams (or subteams) members to get specific work planned and done. They happen in smaller rooms organized in boardroom style. Those replace the assigned project pods we had in previous Design summits.

Contributors meetups

On the last day of the summit, developers on a given team will gather for a half-day or a full-day of open discussions without a pre-defined theme. Depending on how the previous days went, the agenda might evolve.

Project pods

Project pods are roundtable that can be informally used by smaller (or newer) teams to discuss a specific topic. We used to have assigned pods for every project team, but we created work sessions to replace those. The pods room should therefore be reserved to ad-hoc groups that don't have access to work rooms. Pods should all be equipped with a paperboard that can be used for brainstorming.

Before the Design Summit

Propose sessions

Sessions are proposed on an open document (generally an Etherpad) and discussed at team meetings. See Design_Summit/Planning for a list of such documents.

At the Design Summit

  • The schedule will be available online. Refer to it early, refer to it often
  • The session should start on time, be there or be square
  • The session lead starts by introducing clearly what the session is about (and what it is not about) to set expectations
  • It is the responsibility of the session lead to keep the discussion live and on-topic
  • Make the best use of the available time !
  • Collaborative note taking during the session should be done through http://etherpad.openstack.org, please participate and make sure your points are reported there, see the summit-specific link at the top to see where the list of session pads is located
  • In fishbowl sessions, 10 minutes before the end of the session, the session lead should start making sure (s)he gets clear outcomes, work items and actions from the session
  • End on time, to give participants the time to switch rooms to the next session if needed