The Agile Office – Part 3, Fun

One of the most important aspects of software development, as not the most important aspect, are the team members. The people who have to build the software. You could come up with all kind of processes, documents, methodologies, etc., in the end the team members have to build the software. Therefore, I believe the agile office is a very important aspect of software development. I would not say good software development is not possible in an agile office. However, the other way around is certainly true. A a real agile office stimulates good software development.
I gave a presentation about the Agile office on the Benelux XP Days 2009 and an improved version on the Mini XP Days 2010 in Rheeze, near Eindhoven. For the improved version I created an survey to collect data about the use, benefits, advantages, disadvantage, etc. of the agile office. I am still interested in extra data. Therefore, if you have time please fill in this survey.
In three articles I will explain what I think an agile office is. There are three elements important in an Agile Office:
  1. Communication
  2. Nature
  3. Fun
In this last article I will discuss fun in the Agile Office. It is the smallest article of this thee articles. However, fun is probably most important 😉
If you have any questions, remarks, disagree, etc. please let me know! I understand that most of these topics are also nice to have in a not agile office. However, I think they should be really there in an agile office.

No Clean Desk Policy

People like to personalize their environment. We decorate our house with the furniture and accessories we like, we wear the cloth we like, why not personalize your desk the way you like? In some organisations there is a clean desk policy and employees are no allowed to personalize their desk or office. I think every employee should have the possibility to personalize his work environment. By doing this you feel at home and create an inspiring environment.

There is of course a difference between personalizing and a mess… the picture on the left side is far beyond personalizing.

Hardware

You are expected to deliver the best software possible, work as efficient as possible, create happy customers… is it not logic to have good tooling to do your job? I think it is very frustrated for a engineer to do his work with outdated hardware.

The hardware of an engineer should be at least what is required for a customer. In most cases it should be even more, especially when you are working in a multi-tier environment. You probably have an application server, database server, web server running at your local machine. This set up requires hardware that is more then average. For example, a solid state drive could boost your improvement.

Two monitors could also increase your happiness. You could use one monitor to display the application and the other monitor to display the IDE or test automation tool. There are several reports on the internet to prove your manager that multiple monitors improves efficiency. In most cases, when you are able to work more efficient, you also have more fun in your work.

Relax

Organize a soccer table, dartboard, ping pong table, Wii, at least something to relax during work time. Building, testing, describing software is an intense process. You have to be concentrated and focus on your work. There should be an option to relax during the day. A manager that believes you are concentrated the whole day, fools himself.

Make sure you set up a separate game room or at least don’t disturb people who are working when you’re relaxing.

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