For an agile culture to breed and evolve, the team needs a conducive workspace to practice agile values. That’s precisely why many organizations are embracing a workspace transformation that aligns with their future.
What are the characteristics of an agile workspace? Is there a blueprint that organizations can use?
The answer is, no.
An agile workspace, just like agile methods, follows certain principles. The specifics are decided in close collaboration with the teams who will use the workspace.
Then what are the principles behind an agile workspace? Here is a list.
- Encourage face-to-face communication – A good workspace must ensure that team members see each other more often and engage in verbal communication. The traditional cubicle-based offices don’t encourage this and are better avoided
- Cater to various working preferences – A developer may work better in a calm environment while the quality engineer may prefer a social setup. An agile workspace must provide options for team members to work in their preferred style. Though every preference cannot be satisfied, the common ones must be catered for
- Create a positive vibe – A closed office with wall-sized partitions and an open office with lots of natural light; which one in your opinion creates a positive vibe? I am sure you prefer an open and bright office. Look for ways to create a positive vibe with bright colors, natural light, plants etc. and make working a fun experience
- Provide whiteboards – In a setup encouraging communication, the team needs a lot of whitespace to collaborate and express their ideas. Whiteboards are a good choice to write something or use sticky notes. Magnetic whiteboards are even better because they can hold papers and key reports
- Offer space to collaborate – Many companies are moving away from meeting rooms. Instead, they offer space with couches and screens for the team to have quick discussions. Believe me, this single change leads to drastic improvement in productivity!
- BONUS: Encourage clean desks – I am personally a clean desk individual. In my opinion, a clean desk leads to focus and clarity of thought. Wireless charging, Wifi, personal lockers are some ways that lead to a clean desk environment
In Conclusion, a thoughtfully designed workspace promotes agility by supporting agile principles and motivating teams to focus on their work. Rather than going for a big-bang migration, start small, experiment few changes, get feedback and continuously improve – just as agile recommends!