Agile Best Practice (1 of 10) - Provide an Agile working space for the team

In this series of blogs related to how we improved the maturity of our Agile practices, I'll share with you 10 best practices we've practiced / refined in the last 1.5 years.

Providing an Agile workspace is an extremely important step in adopting Agile SW Development methodology in your team.

An Agile workspace is defined as a collaboration work space where team members can see each other while they work, communicate F2F as much as possible, have a white-board where they can brainstorm / discuss stories, design etc. and where true collaboration happens.

The initial vision of our Agile workspace was a bit different from what we have in place now (we mature / learn as we go, right?). In our initial setup, we thoguht team members would continue to work from their cubicles, but then we'd not have any walls seperating team members. It would be an open space. See a picture of such a setup.

We'd group all developers in a particular area, all QA in an area, all database folks in an area etc. This worked well initially, but then as the group size grew (we added more contingent worker developers), it became a bit challenging. So while this provided some open space, this was not the optimal solution either.

We had a very nice bull-pen area adjacent to our cubicle space in Bangalore, that we were not utilizing at all. So one of our team members had a great idea - why dont we reconfigure the bull-pen area and create 2 Agile workspaces, with nothing more than a table, some chairs, white board a projector and some chairs. We contacted Corporate Services again and they were once again very helpful in coming up with a picture / estimate of what it would take to put something like this together. Here is how it looks today

This has improved F2F communications between team members. Issues are resolved quickly through F2F communications rather than through tools. Each one in the team knows what the other works on. This has so far worked out quite well.

This new arrangement costed us less than 3K USD (bulk of the cost was for the table - it had built in network ports and power sockets, plus some rewiring costs). I'd encourage teams that want to improve F2F communication to create an Agile workspace.
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