Don’t collaborate here!

I saw a few of these signs posted up around an office site I visited today and was amused by it.  The office cubicles were also very high (‘Dilbert’ cubicles come to mind).  In fact they were high enough that we couldn’t see people’s heads.  The workspace was definitely reflective of a non-collaborative culture.

A couple of my recent posts on Facebook and IDEO illustrates how teamwork and collaboration is important to the success of those organizations – teamwork and collaboration is part of their DNA.

If you go to an agile workspace you will generally find it a hive of activity with a lots of collaboration and verbal communication.  Anyone not familiar with how agile teams work would mistake this as (unproductive) ‘noise’ and wonder how people get any work done.  However, most people in agile teams get use to the ‘noise’ very quickly and are able to filter out the ‘noise’.  The high amount of ‘noise’ on agile teams never bothered me.  I found myself naturally developing selective hearing whereby I only tuned into conversations that were relevant to me and ignoring the rest.  That’s why co-location is important on agile projects – to participate in the ad-hoc conversations as well as having the richness of face-to-face communication.

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