What does every manager ask for when they really want to get a software project completed quickly? “Give me a war room.” We all know, almost instinctively, what they mean.
A mid-sized room full of white boards and peg boards covered with notes and drawings. Six or seven desks pushed together in the center of the room, each with one or two people working together staring intently at laptops connected to giant monitors. Questions, when asked, are spoken out loud so anyone can quickly answer.
There is an intensity to the room. A sense that the room was assembled for a purpose, a propose everyone in the room knows and understands.
The war room is a solid metaphor for agile space, but does it scale? Can you turn an office constructed as a giant cube farm into agile space without building lots of rooms?
In fact, we can do far better than a war room. We can turn that entire cube farm into a war floor! A war floor is much nicer than just a war room.
To turn your old cube farm (or even your new cube farm) into a war floor do the following:
1. Remove the cubes
2. Make all walls whiteboards, metal boards, and pegboards
3. Acquire portable tables and computers
4. Acquire nice chairs for team members and folding chairs for visitors during demos
5. Drop power and internet from the ceiling
6. Let the team create the space they need for each project
Let agile teams be agile.
An agile war floor is a giant open space where team members arrange their desks and chairs to match the specific needs of the specific product they are working on. They always arrange their desks so they have at least one wall close by to be their task board. The rest, they improvise.
Removing the cubes allows for density and restructuring in an agile manner as the needs change. The war floor adjusts it appearance dynamically, in real time, as the needs of the team change. All without expensive build outs.
Build agile work spaces. Work spaces the team can change at the drop of a hat. The space, more than anything else, sets the tone for the entire agile journey. Do it well, and it will pay off for years to come in better agile behavior.
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