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Workspaces for Effective Agility

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Author and Agile consultant, Mike Cohn recently wrote a blog entry summarizing a chapter in his new book "Succeeding With Agile" talking about the ideal Agile workspace. He points to things that need to be visible in the space an Agile team works in to help them be more effective.

Cohn considers as helpful the following items:

  • Big Visible Charts: information radiators that convey the project state to anyone who is interested.
  • Additional Feedback Devices: lights, sirens or other tools to indicate the state of critical elements, such as the lava lamp that turns on when the automated build fails.
  • Everyone on the Team: the space should be configured that the team can see each other, without having to get up and walk around.
  • The Sprint Backlog: ideally in the form of a task board showing the current state of each piece of work in the current sprint
  • The Product Backlog: displaying the backlog puts the current sprint in context and helps prevent the team from feeling isolated within this sprint
  • Whiteboards: a central place to have discussions around
  • Quiet, Private Space: not everything we do is teamwork – sometimes a team member needs to get away from the common space to think through a problem or to take a phone call.
  • Food and Drink: sustenance when people need it, without needing to interrupt the flow of work.
  • A Window: natural light and connection to the world outside the project.

Inspired by this discussion, Derek Neighbors posted a video examination of the workspace at Integrum. In the video Derek recommends a couple of additional things an ideal Agile workspace has like a play area with video games, pool table, darts, etc. and having some rookies for a more diverse experience.

It would be interesting to see videos of workspaces used by other teams. Are they effective? What are the most recommended items?

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