The intersection of technology and leadership

Reface Your Team Space

I ran this session at the XP2007 conference as a workshop. The presentation that I used for some of the session can be downloaded here. We ran through two exercises, the first to stimulate the creative juices and get people talking together. The second activity intended to give people a better chance of sharing their experiences with each other and being able to put together a list of space and team practices they’ve found useful for improving team environments and interactions.

Whiteboard Exercise

This exercise involved splitting the participants into two groups whose task was to create the “ideal” whiteboard for showing the state of your project to outside people. Some of the tools in their box at their disposal included sticky notes (colours, arrows), blu-tack, and varied white board markers. Each group then presented their results to each other, and we ran a second iteration, this time focusing on the “ideal” whiteboard for a team-focused whiteboard.

Group 1 Whiteboard Results Round 1
Group 1 Whiteboard Results Round 1

Group 1 Whiteboard Results Round 2
Group 1 Whiteboard Results Round 2

Group 2 Whiteboard Results Round 1
Group 2 Whiteboard Results Round 1

Group 2 Whiteboard Results Round 2
Group 2 Whiteboard Results Round 2

Effective Space Techniques
After sharing some examples of space techniques I have seen used on projects, we turned the room into an open round table discussion with the focus being on effective space techniques people have either used or seen on projects. People took turns, telling their story and we distilled them onto index cards and tried categorising them into several categories. The following lists show the output from the session, with pictures linked in the main bullet point.

Please leave a comment if you can add any more. Thanks!

  • Thoughts around Effective Team Practices
    • Planning
    • Blame “Ola”
    • “Make it work” Default Action
    • Split Day Availability
  • Thoughts around Effective Rituals Practices
    • Red Nose (if you broke the build)
    • Speaking Tokens – Soft toys
    • Stand Up Fish
    • I’m-working-on-the-build-hat/flag
    • Stand up meeting with the entire team
    • Non-interruption token
    • Walk during lunch time
    • Retro meetings to go over lessons learned
    • Retrospectives in another room helps especially when having trouble with communicating
    • Invite everyone to celebrations (i.e. people outside of project)
    • Do things outside the workspace
    • Birthday cake
  • Thoughts around Effective Space Practices
    • Quiet rooms (phone conversations, meetings, focus such as reading an article)
    • 2 teams layout (see card in picture)
    • Offset desks/pair stations so you can see each other
    • Personal/team area (see card in picture)
    • Retrospective in an outside environment
    • Face to face table
    • Interleave tester and BAs amongst developers
    • Have a room with sofas (maybe a cafe if you have space)
    • You can’t have too many power sockets and network ports
  • Thoughts around Effective Communication Practices
    • Burn down graph
    • Burn up graph
    • “I need Person x notice”
    • Task breakdowns on sticky notes
    • Audio Feedback from the CI Machine
    • Police Light, Singing Fish, Glitter Light
    • Visitor’s Chair
    • Whiteboard to communicate high level info = Things I want the team to see throughout the iteration.
    • Story Bell
    • Tomato – La Tecnica del Pomodoro (Il Pomodoro)


  1. Thank you for a good session and hope to see you in other sessions next year.

    Thanks and good luck.

  2. Very good and useful session, it has everything we needed to discuss about visible charts, info. radiators, team space, and many others… thank you and thanks for all great participants.

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