The space you work in can contribute to the quality and speed of work. If you’ve ever had surgery or seen a medical drama, you’ve seen that an operating room is methodically laid out. Every tool, nurse and assistant in the room has a specific spot to be in the room to perform their part in the surgery perfectly. Software development doesn’t have the same impact if there’s a drop in quality as in surgery, but having your space configured to allow optimal collaboration is vital in the Scrum or XP environment, as Scott Bowen describes.
When you talking about building a development team, there’s a lot of planning that needs to occur to enable collaboration before you even get started. One piece of the preparation is to design and build the right work environment. Putting the right people in the wrong space with the wrong tools can be disastrous for a project.
Something that we have done is to move people out of offices and cubicles, where the sharing and building upon ideas is much more natural. I’m not advocating that everyone blows away all of their offices and cubicles. You have to create logical groupings of people that are naturally inclined to work together and that are working on similar aspects of the project that makes sense for them to work on together in an open environment like that. They really need a workspace so they can collaborate.
On our XP and Scrum teams, we have workspaces that two developers sit side-by-side and pair-program with two other groups of two that are also with them working on a similar part of the product. This helps them bounce ideas back and forth, and quickly collaborate. We have seen that grouping our developers collaboratively allows a product design to emerge over time and is typically much more aligned with what the users or customers are looking.
As in surgery, having someone out of place can cause inefficiency and a drop in quality and effectiveness. How have your organized your space for maximum collaboration?Contact Scott Bowen by email at ScottJB@vmc.com or 877.393.8622.