Communication in Agile environment

open-space

Agile teams usually works in the Open Spaces. This makes communication easier, but it also introduces a problem: it is easier to interrupt your coworker. We all know what interruption means for programmer:

programmer-interrupted

Some people (e.g., DHH or Joel Spolsky) argue that working in Open Space is not good idea at all. They even wrote about that in their books:

DHH - Remote

Smart and Gets Things Done - Joel Spolsky's Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent

Here are three tips that can help you to fix this issue:

  1. When you want to ask somebody about something, send an email, or instant message instead of talking to him (even, and especially, when he sits next to you).
  2. Keep headphones on all the time when you working. Even if you are not listening to anything. This will make others to hesitate more before talking to you.
  3. Convince everybody from your team to apply tip 1 and 2.

I recommend you to check Michal Sliwon’s blog entry: Asynchronous communication at work, where you can find even more tips. It is also worth to read books Remote, and Smart and Gets Things Done (you can find them on my favorite books list). Both are against working in Open Spaces. First – is favoring working remotely. Second – private offices. Nevertheless, it is surprising how many ideas from these books – applied in remote work, and private office environments – can also works in Open Spaces.

Are you working in Open Space? What are you doing to be productive?