Supporting Agile Development at Microsoft with Next-Gen Workspaces.

This week there was a great article in Microsoft's internal newsletter (MicroNews). The article profiled one of the next-gen workspaces at Microsoft where our patterns & practices team works. MicroNews graciously allowed me to re-post the article as an article on my blog:

Workspace of the Future: Is Writing on the Wall?

This is one of four such pilot workspaces at Microsoft which our Real Estate and Facilities (RE&F) team is using to help them learn how to optimize future workspaces. The truly great thing about this partnership between the RE&F team and the software engineering teams is that it shows how serious teams across Microsoft are about adopting Agile development methodologies.

I went over to Building 5 because I had to see this area for myself - it's truly amazing. Here are just a few of my favorite features:

  • The teams using this workspace rely on Visual Studio Team System to support their development methodology. (Ok, you had to know this was going to top my list <g>)
  • Walls you can write on to sketch architecture diagrams, class models, or my favorite, a scribbling that simply said "Don't feed the devs."
  • Walls you can move. Need to create a bigger space for more team members? No problem - just move the walls!
  • About 80% of the area was oriented as pockets of open workspaces, but there were some personal offices reserved for people who needed some peace and quiet to do their work. But even those offices had plexiglass walls which created a sense of openness and allowed others to easily see who was around. Not to mention the fact that now everybody effectively had a window office since you could see outside from anywhere in the building.
  • Outlets and cables could easily be moved anywhere because they were situated on a raised floor with removable tiles like you'd find in a data center.

I'm trying to arrange for a Channel 9 video so that you can see everything for yourself. Stay tuned... If you have specific questions you want answered during the tour please leave a comment or email me.