Agile workspace in larger enterprises




It is a common headache experienced by many enterprises as they make the shift to more agile approaches. How to modify a cube-oriented work space and turn it into a space better aligned to the needs of agile teams? This is an example of office space which is fairly typical of any large and successful enterprise – and I’m really just sharing it for the purpose of comparing and contrasting.

img_1499I was privileged to spend time at an organization a few weeks ago provided some initial coaching and a 2-day Leading SAFe 4.0 class. I’ll respect their anonymity and not name them. But they deserve a callout as they are a forward-thinking organization. They are doing the right things and doing them at scale. One of those things is to tackle the challenge of an Agile workspace head on. Here is a picture to illustrate what they have done. Note the BVIRs at each end of the desk-pod. Note the raisable desks. Note the glass separators to create usable vertical space. This picture perhaps doesn’t do it justice but the overall sense of space you get is a significant departure from the traditional cube set-up. To me it truly felt like a TEAM space.




Here is the same type of setup where a team had taken up residence.








The first two scenes I shared with you co-exist side by side. Below is a panoramic 180 shot with the newer setup to the left and the more traditional set-up to the right. Its fascinating to stand on the threshold of both of them and look back and forth.


This shows the kind of scale at which change is being made.




Here’s another team area using the similar setup depicted earlier.









I realize that some of you may be fortunate to work in even snazzier surroundings. But its tough to do that sort of cafe/social/sofa/laboratory/private-yet-public/all-bells-and-whistles set up in large enterprises. You can can’t do a custom implementation for every person. The search for a common ground can sometimes feel like  a race to the bottom. But this (for me) was a really nice upgrade from the more traditional cube setup.

I have witnessed too often the office space upgrade which end up costing a fortune and don’t actually result in any improvement. I got the impression that this was being used effectively and providing a return on the investment. After seeing what had been achieved I felt like I had a glimpse of a possible future for a lot of large enterprises.