Top 5 Agile change tips #2 - Sit together

Posted by Marcus Hammarberg on October 9, 2012
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This is the second post on my top 5 ways of making sure that your agile change initiative succeeds. But this is not ideas made up in my head (MY GOD - the horrors...) but things that I've tried and failed miserably with. Over and over. And learned a lot from.

This is the list - in order of importance:

  1. Get a great "Or else"-reason for doing this change
  2. Sit together (this post)
  3. Let them change how they work
  4. Support the initiative 
  5. Use visualised data to improve

This is the second post on my top 5 ways of making sure that your agile change initiative succeeds. But this is not ideas made up in my head (MY GOD - the horrors...) but things that I've tried and failed miserably with. Over and over. And learned a lot from.

This is the list - in order of importance:

  1. Get a great "Or else"-reason for doing this change
  2. Sit together (this post)
  3. Let them change how they work
  4. Support the initiative 
  5. Use visualised data to improve

#2 Sit together

Now that I've got your attention from the last scary post... We turn to a much much simpler thing. But it's still super-important, entering number 2 on my top 5 change tricks.

Are you ready? Pens out? Here we go:
Sit together!
There. You read it here first. I'm giving certifications in this method if you want to.

Seriously this is a thing that really really makes a difference. People that are going to work together should sit together. Yes, even if you belong to different departments. Breathe... and again... deep breaths...

Strangely enough we are social beings. Sitting together increases the likelihood that we start talking to each other and clear out misconceptions and how to best work together.

It's doesn't have to be full time. Here's a story that solved a lot of problems for us in one team I coached:
We had a really hard time to get hold of our business analysts. They were super busy and could just met with us each sprint demo. The rest of the communication was done via documents and emails. Causing massive confusion and sending of even more documents back and forth. Increasing the confusion... You get it, right?
We solved this. You know how? I asked them if they could sit at table next to the developers. For 1 hour a day. And just read their email. They agreed.
All problems (well that had with communications to do at least) went away. Lots of more communications. Less documents and emails sent back and forth. Less misunderstandings  They talked to each other, since they sat next to each other.

I can now hear someone way in the back... Yes, I can hear what you think; "Just because they sit together doesn't mean that they will talk". No - but the likelihood increases. A lot!

This sounds super-simple but at some companies where I've worked this is hard and costly. Moving a table or workplace can cost 5000 SEK ($800). But then move. Offically. Just sit there and work during the days.

Sit together - great things happen when people are close to each other.

Summary

This was the second post in my series of top 5 things to think about to succeed with agile transformation projects

  1. Get a great "Or else"-reason for doing this change
  2. Sit together (this post)
  3. Let them change how they work
  4. Support the initiative 
  5. Use visualised data to improve


Published by Marcus Hammarberg on Last updated