Organizing Work space for distributed teams

To reap benefits of distributed agile – team needs diversity of workspace to support all forms of creative work: focus, collaborate, learn and socialize.

During inception phase, the agile lead need to work with the project sponsors to secure a work environment that will maximize the effectiveness of the team.

There are many agile workspace variants evolved based on experiences and some would be more effective than others depending on context, individuals, team size, company culture and constraints. The basic work setup needs are been specified.

  • Work Space arrangement – for multiple agile teams working in one large floor area:
    1. Large electronic screens (~one screen per 25 members), to be used for real time visible reporting and for agile ceremonies.
    2. Plenty of whiteboards or most walls within the workspace should be by default whiteboards to encourage instant collaboration.
    3. Video conferencing equipment in a room with good space for minimum 15 people; for every 25 members minimum one video conf room is suggested.
    4. Agile requires space for informal, ad hoc meetings of 2-3 people.
    5. Agile requires social spaces with coffee wending machines – that encourage informal networking.
    6. Space for visitors / temporary team members.
    7. Each member’s workstation/Laptop should be enabled with audio-video facility.
    8. Small discussion tables at teams work spaces, help them to have productive discussions.
    9. Wall posters related to agile principles, values, practices, etc. on walking paths.
    10. Workspace needs windows (larger the better) for natural light, represents openness..!
  • Agile Work Room:

Agile work room concept came into being in recent years to bring entire team working from close work space for entire duration of the project. In-case of distributed teams, the room is equipped with audio & video infrastructure.

  1. Whiteboards for technical discussions, status reporting, etc.
  2. Moveable furniture – tables and chairs; also few additional chairs for visitors are needed.
  3. One large electronic screen to be used for real time visible reporting and also be used for agile ceremonies (Daily stand-up meetings, Demos, Retro’s, etc.)
  4. A video conferencing equipment, to have open communication with distributed team members.
  5. Each member’s workstation/Laptop should be enabled with audio-video facility.

It’s important to focus on above requirements to create simulated co-locations which enable rich real-time collaborations between individuals or teams working from distributed locations.

Management have to understand that agile thinking is to provide complete control to team over their work space, with freedom to configure it how they like and reconfigure it at their will.

CategoriesAgile Leadership

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