Creating an Optimized Agile Environment

Posted on January 15, 2011


There are many things that you will need to address as you build your agile practice.  Creating an optimized environment should be one of them.  Molding your surroundings to enable high performing teams, is an essential step in maturing your agile practice.  Obviously, the work that I am talking about, makes the assumption that you have a collocated team.  If you are working with distributed teams, you will need to be more creative to optimize your environment.

Agile teams are asked to complete Done Done units of work in short intervals.  This can only be accomplished with great collaboration and free flowing communication.  This is where the environment that the team interacts with comes into play.  Is your environment built to enhance collaboration and foster free flowing communication?  In my experience, most IT shops are not setup for this.  In fact, they are usually built to segregate individuals from each other and suppress collaboration and communication.  We need to break the mold and find ways to reduce the friction that traditional configurations create.

The first thing we need to do is create a vision of what we want out of our optimized agile environment to be.  This can be done through brainstorming sessions and researching on the internet.  Make sure you get a good representation of the roles on your cross-functional teams when gathering this information.  Once you have some good data on what others have tried and a list of critical inputs for your space, integrate that information into a vision statement.  Now, you are ready to start optimizing.

This is how I started with my initiative.  The posts following this one will walk you through what I did to create a high performance work area for our agile teams.