Personal space and co-location

Last post 03:05 am January 15, 2014
by Dave Lochead
2 replies
09:03 am January 12, 2014


I am posting about a topic I have yet to come across in discussion. My honest experience is that co-location of a Scrum team has often been painful because of the forced relationship of the team. And forgive me for being brutally honest, but being asked to squeeze 7 people into a space intended for 2 presents a non-joyful experience for an introvert. Here's the picture:

One big 7' table. 6 people squeezed to fit on the table, each with about 3' of space of which a good part of it is littered with network and power cables from each device to extension cords. The floor space is a maze of cables and wires which you have to navigate to even sit. That's just the physical logistics. Add to that a mix of contractors and FTEs whom have never worked together before. Spice it up with some not so great history between the FTEs. Then, and this is the tipping point for me who is an introvert and for whom idle chatter is a source of a anxiety, you're at a table where endless chatter and bantering goes on, often not about our tasks at hand and often without respect for the other people at the table. The manifestation of this is seen with team members having to constantly wear headphones, which is so unpleasant as a matter of daily course

How do you address this as a scrum master when you're expected to facilitate this team's evolution into high performance? Yes, I'm speaking from both the perspective as an analyst on one team and the Scrummaster of another. In both scenarios I have experienced this problem.

Thanks so much, in advance, for an insightful conversation.

02:24 pm January 12, 2014

> How do you address this as a scrum master
> when you're expected to facilitate this team's
> evolution into high performance?

Let's try to assess the matter objectively.

- How "forced" is this team relationship, and who is doing the forcing?
- To what extent are the "team" self-organizing themselves and their environment in the manner you describe?
- What is their delivery record currently like?

03:05 am January 15, 2014

Hi Deb,

Since I work in an entirely different background compared to the "usual" Scrum Master, my thoughts are that the very first thing I would be working to solve is the physical enviroment.
Your description of the cables, tight space and work table being insufficient alarms me, and in my usual field of work ( aircraft restoration believe it or not) it would be completely unaceptable. The physical risk from tripping, dragging equipment off the table and general unpleasntness of having to work in such a tight enviroment are issues that will be affecting the performance of each individual, and the team as a whole. This is a health and safety problem, and since you are a "servant manager" I would think it falls in your field of influence? That would be the first step.