I recently attended a timebox retrospective of a team I have started coaching. The team have been together for some time now and are constantly improving their performance. But one issue that came up (there were others, about which I will write more another time) particularly interested me, because it highlighted the different attitudes and prejudices at play in a team.
At present the team are split in two, seated at opposite ends of the building. The project manager is located in the building next door. Not ideal. They have, to their credit, been asking to be co-located for some time, and it was announced that they will move next week, to two adjoining clusters. The dilemma they face now is obviously who sits where. They have, bizarrely, been allocated seven workstations across these two clusters – three at one cluster of three desks and four at a cluster of six.
The team comprises the project manager, business analyst, four developers and two testers. Eight into seven doesn’t go, but who to sit with whom?
After some discussion I chipped in with the following question:
A team locates developers together when there is a need to share application domain knowledge. A team locates developers with testers when there is a need to improve the quality of the code being delivered to the customer in each timebox. What, I asked, is more important to you.
There was silence for some time before they decided to think about it. They move on Tuesday. I await their decision with interest. What would you do?