No walls: What to do when you’ve no Walls for your Informative Workspace

You move into a lovely new office. Lots of light and open spaces. Beautiful. Modern. But no walls.

Agile kind of assumes you’ve got walls. Whiteboards. Sprint Plan. Product Backlog. Burn down Charts. Kanban boards. Cumulative Flow Diagrams. All prominently displayed to transform your office into an Informative Workspace.

So what do you do when there are no walls?

Here are some quick ideas:

  • Rearrange desks
  • Portable boards
  • Pillars and Columns
  • Corridors
  • Windows

All of these have problems but they might get you going.

I would not recommend relying on an electronic board. The entire point is to radiate information and tickets in a database don’t radiate anything.

Rearrange desks

Photos and ideas please

I’d really appreciate other ideas for what to do if you’ve got no walls. Even better if you accompany the suggestion with photos of what you’re doing.

Both my current and last teams created information rich project cockpits by moving desks around to enable access to the walls. We had the walls but they weren’t useful because of the furniture in front. So we moved the furniture (despite objections from furniture police).

Con: Potentially less desks. Annoy other residents.

Portable board

I started my Agile journey with two pin boards, one for the Iteration Plan and one for the Release Plan. The portability was quite useful as I could carry them around and take them to meetings, e.g. iteration planning.

Another team I know of were doing Kanban by stealth in a Scrum organisation. They had their board on a sheet of foam core and carried it into the stairwell to have their stand up meetings.

Con: Small.

Pillars and Columns

One department I worked in had a lot of Agile teams. More teams than walls. If you were lucky you got a wall. But at least one team resorted to using a large round column in their team space for their Kanban board. The steps in the process went around the column.

Con: Impossible to get an overview of the whole board.

Corridors

In the same department other teams put up their boards in corridors leading off from the open work area.

Con: Away from the team.

Windows

My current team are tight on wall space. We’ve painted the two available walls with whiteboard paint for our Epic board and Development board. But we needed another wall for our Product Backlog. There wasn’t one. But there was a large window into a meeting room. So we used Gripping Stuff to convert the window to a wall.

Con: Less light.

This post is part of my What do I do When … ? series. Please drop me a line or add a comment if you’ve got a question you’d like answered.

One thought on “No walls: What to do when you’ve no Walls for your Informative Workspace

  1. Hi Steven

    We have recently developed a new kind of I interconnecting whiteboard system which is getting strong uptake within Agile groups.

    The Y? System is a series of 2m x 1.1m ceramic steel panels that either lock together to create a single board up to 4.4m wide, or via hinges, to cover corners or curved.

    cdspace.com.au

    Interested in your perspective.

    We’re looking for a distributor in the U.S. Any thoughts?

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