Ideal team space is essential for all development projects irrespective of it being agile development project or not. This is because ideal team space generates enhanced productivity from projects. Similarly, agile team space is an important requirement for successful completion of agile projects. Just putting an agile team together does not fulfill the requirements of an ideal agile workspace. In order to enhance productivity and motivation, agile teams should be organized in a definite manner. Agile team should be configured in a way to foster the maximum interaction and communication from the members. To ensure good productivity, the product owner of an agile team should ensure an ideal working space for the agile team. Below is listed the characteristics of an ideal agile team working space.
Characteristics of an ideal agile team space:
- Minimum distractions: There should be minimum restrictions for the agile team members to concentrate and focus on the project and productivity. Examples of common distractions are phone calls, Instant messaging, off-topic conversations, extensive foot traffic that is, too many people moving about in the vicinity of the team and so on.
- Good hygiene factors: Hygiene factors are essentials that need to be followed in order to maintain an ideal agile team space. Examples of good hygiene factors are good clean and tidy space, good air flow, adequate lighting, comfortable furniture and seating arrangements, adequately stocked pantry with food and beverages and so on.
- Information radiators: There should be proper communication between the agile team members and product owner and this can be managed by using good information radiators. The work area should have space and provisions for putting up information radiators. Examples of best information radiators used by agile practitioners are: white-boards, pin-up boards, facilities to put up charts or indicators like lava lamps and so on.
- Availability of necessary space: Here necessary space means space to hold daily stand-up meeting, meeting rooms of various shapes and sizes, lounge etc.
- Agile team confined to room: Everybody that is contributing to the project must be “confined” to the room. This means that they must be present in the work area at least when they are doing the work on the project.
- After knowing the characteristics for an ideal agile team space, let’s take a look at the signs of bad team space which are the don’ts to be avoided while working with in an agile development project.
Signs of a bad team space that needs to be avoided:
- Minimal interaction or poor communication: Lack of proper communication is a great drawback in agile team leading to failure of projects. If you find that the team members are not talking or providing healthy interactive sessions with each other, or the steady hum of activity is missing, this means the team is missing an ideal agile team space.
- Ugly spaces: Work spaces that physically look bad is an unhealthy sign of a bad team space that demotivates team to put in their best effort.
- Seating arrangement by job title: This is a major factor demotivating agile team members. Such a sitting arrangement is a clear sign that the team is divided in silos which lacks communication and healthy interaction.
- Lack of information radiators: This shows that the team members are not taking the effort to communicate critical information clearly to each other and the other stakeholders.
- Stake artifacts on the walls: This is another factor that indicates that the agile team members are not taking efforts to update the information radiators which reflects poor team commitment to progress.
- Lack of focus on creating a team space: This problem arises when a team focuses more on furniture layout rather than the creation of an ideal team space. The ideal space should not have too many partitions and should be made for ease of osmotic communication.
- Distractions in working space: Usage of headphones or phones frequently is major distractions in working space. This shows they are not interested or not paying attention to what the other team members are doing or saying which leads to seriously inhibits osmotic communication.
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