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"War Rooms" Double Software Productivity

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the well-maybe dept.

News 186

matt20 writes "Teams of workers that labored together for several months in specially designed "war rooms" were twice as productive as their counterparts working in traditional office arrangements, a study by University of Michigan researchers has found. Say goodbye to little cubes; it's war baby. I used to get tons done in a living room full of other people watching tv, doing homework, and programming, but the biggest problem is always choosing the music.

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War room is great, but... (5)

hrieke (126185) | more than 13 years ago | (#561743)

Now only if that crazy guy in the wheel chair would stop tring to salute Hitler all the time, we could really get some work done.

War rooms? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#561744)

I remember some condescending story on children a few years ago and how if you painted the classroom colours different it correlated to different speed and detail of work (condescending as they didn't try it on adults). There's some more detail on this at CNN [goatse.cx] .

"War Rooms" (1)

atrowe (209484) | more than 13 years ago | (#561745)

My office has had "war room" style workspaces for years. All you need is a few Nerf guns and some rubber bands.

Sense of purpose, perhaps? (2)

bugg (65930) | more than 13 years ago | (#561746)

I'm no clinical psychologist (but I did get an A in HS Introduction to psychology!) but I would guess that the reason people work better in a "war-room" is that they feel they have a purpose. Besides the more obvious reasons mentioned in the article, such as encouring cooperation, when you're working closely with other people what you're doing seems a bit more important.

Sitting down facing a screen, it doesn't really care if you work on the programming task at hand or if you play a couple rounds of xmame. With your peers all with you, you can't let the team down. So, by creating a team atmosphere, the end result is probably a constant fear of not wanting to screw things up for everyone ;)

On a lighter note, does anyone out there work in a "war room" type enviornment? It sounds like somewhere I'd like to work, but only if the chairs were leather and really comfortable ;)

extreme programming (5)

po_boy (69692) | more than 13 years ago | (#561747)

This reminds me of the claim of extreme programming [extremeprogramming.org] that working in pairs increases productivity. I think it's just because you feel more guilty screwing around when the other guy is working, so you both end up working. Kind of a prisoners' dilemma, I guess.

Yeah. (2)

pb (1020) | more than 13 years ago | (#561748)

I can believe that.

I often find myself going to the Operating Systems lab to get stuff done, just because it's quiet, it's locked, (to only let the real nerds in) and there are lots of computers there, and comfy chairs, and a big table in the middle and stuff...

Now if only I could get to the article. Anyone have it mirrored or cached or something?
---
pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu] .

What do you mean flawed code? (3)

theluckman (205155) | more than 13 years ago | (#561749)

If you wonder why it's called a "war room", wait till they start debugging each others code. I've always said that there's no fighter like an overprotective programmer.


luckman

i know what this is all about (5)

grizzo (138368) | more than 13 years ago | (#561750)

anybody who knows anything knows that "war room" is simply a euphemism for "bong parlor". the reason people are more productive is because they're all too baked to talk to one another, focusing their energies on programming instead (which, as everybody who knows anything knows, is really easy to do stoned).

the old cubicle system didn't allow for huge hookah-parties, thereby forcing employees/programmers to smoke out of their own small pieces, which didn't really get them that baked, just enough that they couldn't concentrate on anything anymore.

as a side note, picking the music is never difficult in a bong parlor-- no matter what you pick, everybody will start bobbing along to the groove and saying, "dude this is pretty sweet. what is it?".

love,
grizzo

www.grizzo.com [grizzo.com]
it's 100% grizzo

Re:Sense of purpose, perhaps? (1)

po_boy (69692) | more than 13 years ago | (#561751)

I'm no clinical psychologist

I think you meant to say "IANACP"

Headphones save lives (2)

fantomas (94850) | more than 13 years ago | (#561752)

We've got a wee micro company, in an industrial unit converted into a nice little open plan office. All the furniture is in a big loop and it can be very productive having everybody in the same space to bounce ideas off and go for mad creative and production drives.

But remember kids, headphones save lives!

War Rooms (2)

invdaic (88360) | more than 13 years ago | (#561753)

I always wanted to build a war room but I could never find a world map quite big enough. And I needed a lot or red rotary phones too.

XP favours a similar approach (1)

Socializing Agent (262655) | more than 13 years ago | (#561754)

Extreme Programming [xprogramming.com] , as advocated by refactoring [martinfowler.com] and OO gurus [c2.com] , already favors some similar approaches, especially programming in pairs [c2.com] and functionality-oriented design and testing through collaborative meetings between developers who discuss "User Stories", or anecdotal program requirements from users.

It's worked wonders in my organization, and I suspect that the "war room" approach lends itself to similar types of productivity gains.

Re:i know what this is all about (5)

po_boy (69692) | more than 13 years ago | (#561755)

is grizzo.com hiring?

yeah, but you better have good headphones (3)

wendyk (18350) | more than 13 years ago | (#561756)

i've worked in lots of rooms where the idea was "let's get everyone who's working on this project into 1 room so they can all work together easily" -it was nice when you had a question, you could just shout it out. but you're interrupted so often by other people's phones ringing or their conversations that i think i ended up less productive. if you're put into one of those big offices, you'd better be able to tune out background noise easily. then again, that's probably pretty much the same w/ a floor full of cubicles.

it's a nice way to create a feeling of working as a team, but i think that instant messaging & lunches together or something like that works just as well.

Re:extreme programming (1)

pb (1020) | more than 13 years ago | (#561757)

Nah.

I'm a slacker, and generally my partner is too, so we both end up screwing around. But we get stuff finished in time. However, I can do that by myself, too. :)

The only thing I can think of that working in pairs might really help is the design. Since you have to agree on stuff to write code, you have to decide on a standard way to do things, and that will help you a lot more in the end...
---
pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [ncsu.edu] .

I will never believe otherwise (1)

Tk42! (194442) | more than 13 years ago | (#561758)

I work for an ISP. None of the engineering staff has cubicles. We have an entire floor to ourselves with parts strewn all over the place. In one room, we have arcades...in another room,the vending machines. I personally have always loved this environment. Its true though...the only problem is the music ;)

Re:War rooms? (2)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 13 years ago | (#561759)

I wouldn't call it _too_ condescending. They've since done similar studies on other groups (mentally disturbed patients, adults in offices, etc.) and found similarly strong but not conclusive results.

I suspect it all sounds too touchy-feely new-agey for most organisations to paint their walls pink (or "rose") as a means of increased happiness/productivity. In fact, businesses in general tend to mistrust new and substantially different ideas about how they should be working. Ergonomics, colours for moods, war rooms, flex hours; and most of us are still working 8-5, M-F (theoretically!) in cube farms not much different from the secretarial pools of the 1940s.

As a corollorary, it's easy and happy to experiment on kids, because it's just as easy to dismiss important results as, "well that wouldn't work in the REAL world!"

Sorry--this is all off on a tangent. Nonetheless, business doesn't like to change.

Crappy Buzzword (1)

SanLouBlues (245548) | more than 13 years ago | (#561760)

Somebody should think of something else to call these things. It won't seem as foreboding to say "my company's starting to use happy-fun-good-worker rooms" instead of "war rooms".

Re:Sense of purpose, perhaps? (1)

Killean (25381) | more than 13 years ago | (#561761)

the software department where I work has their own big room where we've got four programmers sitting in each corner, a guy who just test and builds installs off to one side, and a big table in the middle for meetings and ad hoc discussions.. we used to have two couches and a coffee table in the middle, but that became impractible as we got larger.

It's WAY better than being off on your own, since we're always asking each other questions or commenting about /. stories.. and its totally open - no cube walls, and everyone faces towards the center.

We do have one rule - if you want to crank the music, bring your own headphones...

As far as 'war' goes, lan gaming is also much more fun when you can gloat right in front of your opponent.. :)

Slacking off (1)

Anoriymous Coward (257749) | more than 13 years ago | (#561762)

I used to work in an open plan office. My table was essentially held up by the table of the guy opposite. We couldn't turn our monitors without bumping the other. I don't know what it did for his productivity, but he ended up teaching me C.

Meanwhile, all around were other pairs of tables. I can't say we had great communication, but at least you knew when someone was making a pot of tea.

What exactly is a War Room anyways? (2)

pjrc (134994) | more than 13 years ago | (#561763)

I tried to view the article, looks like the site is slashdotted already....

So forgive my ignorance of the terminology, what exactly is a War Room layout anyways?

personallity conflicts (1)

Manitcor (218753) | more than 13 years ago | (#561764)

The only problem I see may arise from such a war room effort is that of personality conflicts between the memebers of the teams.

Would being in an enviormnet like this increase such conflicts and cause the general demise of the project.

Conversely it may push those with conflicts to come to swifter resloutions realizing that they must work in such a close enviorment for an extended period of time.

The main thing I found interesting about this article was the mention at the end on how this may help developers create better team software so that we can share this kind of enviormnet without being in the same physical space.

Tools like AIM and MSN Messanger as well as wEBX, XDrive, NetMetting and others are a great start but we definatly need more.

Maybe VR ala Snow Crash [amazon.com] would be the anwser. Who knows. This is the type of research that needs to be done to find out though.

war room works here (1)

iso (87585) | more than 13 years ago | (#561765)

we have what we call the "Engineering War Room" where i work. generally the Engineers are set up in four-person megacubes (or whatever :), but when there's a big piece of the project to finish we'll all go into the "war room" for a few days.

i find that that many people working towards a common goal really get things done. the room is coated in whiteboards, and everybody is free to comment and join in.

i'm not sure if it would work on a regular basis however. the "war room" only seems to work when we have a very clear goal to achieve, and it can't be a task that spans over many weeks. but for getting specific tasks done, i definitely suggest using that model.

on a related note, i once interviewed with a consulting company called Sapient [sapient.com] who the "war room" model almost exclusively. i imagine that this would work especially well in a consulting scenario.

- j

Re:Use of terminology... (2)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 13 years ago | (#561766)

"Can't we all just get along?"

Nope. Not in a capitalist economy. Capitalism implies (hell, it defines!) competition, conflict, and 'only the strong survive.' Competing agencies getting along is anathema to capitalism.

Sad, ain't it?

For a while, yes ... (1)

Troed (102527) | more than 13 years ago | (#561767)

... however, you don't want to spend 100% of your time in such a team room. I've been working in teams for the last 2.5 years (I'm a Software Engineer) - and I'm feeling more and more the need to spend at least 50% of my time in a private office. Going from a simple developer to something were you spend time designing architectures, making presentations and workshops for newer employees, you need privacy. Don't get me wrong - it's more _fun_ to sit in a team room (you should see the Book of Quotes we have on the intranet .. ) but it's not a valid conclusion to claim that productivity automagically goes up just because you place people in such an environment.

But, yes. Put 3-4 persons and their teamleader in the same room when they're developing new software from scratch, and the whole process of architecture and designing will almost solve itself, if those persons are software engineers and not just simple hackers .. ;)

Get 'em coding (1)

VFVTHUNTER (66253) | more than 13 years ago | (#561768)

I say we lock Rasterman, Mandrake, Linus, Alan, Jens Axboe, Ted T'so, Hemos, and CmdrTaco in a room, giving them breaks only for Number 1's and 2's and twinkies. Then I might get 2.4 and e0.17 before years end, and maybe there wouldnt be so much double posting here on /. :)

Re:What exactly is a War Room anyways? (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#561769)

Everyone has a Nerf gun and uses it without hesitation when his peers screw up.

Re:extreme programming (1)

Aya (115435) | more than 13 years ago | (#561770)

Every time I've been paired up on a project, it just encourages me to go goof off with whoever I'm paired with. This kind of mentality: "Since we're the only ones on this project, if it takes us a while longer to finish, no one else will notice. Hey, let's go play Tokyo Wars at Dave & Buster's." If, on the other hand, I'm doing a project solo, I feel like I have to get it done because my boss will actually be paying attention to what I'm doing. And it's so much harder to BS by yourself, than when you've got someone to collaborate on your bullshit excuses with :) It might just be me, though...

The reason it works (5)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 13 years ago | (#561771)

It works because workers surf/pr0n/slack less. If your boss could just move his eyes over and see you were reading slashdot when it was crunch-time, you'd be in big trouble, hence you work more instead of surfing. Not to mention the people that look at pr0n behind their closed office doors.
Ours is a generation that likes to surf and take lots of 'mini-breaks' when we are working by ourselves.
Having your boss sitting with you constantly changes the workhabits to create better productivity.
I'm not saying everyone does it, but I'm sure you have people at your office doing it, and 'war-rooms' would make them more productive...

--

with many eyes, all bugs are shallow (2)

dR.fuZZo (187666) | more than 13 years ago | (#561772)

That would be the big reason, IMO, for these findings.

Writing this as I am from a 8x10 cube right now, I can tell you that if I was in the same room with other people that worked on this code and could just shout out questions to them I would be a lot more productive.

Instead, I might spend a substantially longer time thrashing through the problem myself. Or when I do resort to tracking someone down, it's a lot harder to find them in this maze of cubicles. Sometimes I can spend half a day on and off just trying to find one guy.

Re:Crappy Buzzword (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 13 years ago | (#561773)

Do not taunt happy-fun-good-worker room!

War Rooms (1)

EndyArkyrie (259305) | more than 13 years ago | (#561774)

The term "War room" seems to fit the office I work in rather well. Although, it seems to go several different ways. My group of programmers has great potential to resolve problems quickly by working together, but when any of us has an arguement of any sort, the whole office is chaos.

Random Dr. Strangelove Quote: (1)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 13 years ago | (#561775)

You can't fight in here, this is the War Room!

Re:Sense of purpose, perhaps? (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 13 years ago | (#561776)

I don't suppose I quality, but I work in a 'war-room' environment for my school's yearbook. We have 30 computers in an arrangement resembling a pitchfork with three prongs. Most computers are visible to everyone, but there are a few private spots available. People generally work quite well, and if someone, e.g., starts up Napster it's obvious. It's private enough, however, so that if someone wants to move to a computer in the corner where he or she can work without being bothered by the the constant din in the area, it can be done. I like it quite much, actually.

The only problem is that we have a lack of space for non-computer activities, which usually results in an ad hoc "meeting area" of a circle of chairs between "prongs".

We don't do any programming work, alas, but the variety of tasks (raw creation, proofreading, article writing, proofreading, tweaking layout, etc. (did I mention proofreading?) approximated the various stages of programming.

Re:War room is great, but... (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 13 years ago | (#561777)

Hee, hee! I hope I'm not the only one who got this reference.

"War rooms" connect with men's egos (1)

Anne Marie (239347) | more than 13 years ago | (#561778)

Admit it. When you were a boy, you played with your GI Joe action figures and pretended to shoot each other with sticks and odd things you found around the house. But now you're all grown up and trying to write software for a living. Wouldn't it be nice to reconnect with that bit of your child hood and recapture a bit of those preadolescent cravings for a postadolescent testosterone rush?

It's not just a placebo effect. Numerous medical studies [webmd.com] indicate that people behave differently in war-geared situations, even in times of peace. If you can convince software-developers to tap into their subconscious desire for conquest, then they can even begin to forgo sleep and food (though interestingly, not sex), in a pursuit of the artificially placed goal set by the company.

Building special "war rooms" both placates men's self-images (power-seeking) and provides a modicum of logistic support to enhance the illusion (nurture-seeking). Rather than discourage competition, today's companies are elevating it to the highest ideal, unmasking sublimated urges and unleashing great profit potential.

Re:What do you mean flawed code? (1)

Alatar (227876) | more than 13 years ago | (#561779)

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here...this is the war room!

Re:Sense of purpose, perhaps? (1)

Volta (43850) | more than 13 years ago | (#561780)

I think you meant to say "IANACP"

ITYM "ITYM IANACP".

CompUSA (3)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#561781)

When I once worked at a CompUSA I noticed a "war room" in the business sales divison. They had a blackboard with lines drawn on it and an actual army helmet with the words "$1 billion in sales by 2000".

They never did make that goal, or so it would seem. They appeared to be at war not with other computer sellers but the customers.

Warroom = Hell (2)

ZZane (144066) | more than 13 years ago | (#561782)

Have any of you actually seen or worked in a War Room? 99% of the time what a War Room is is an ex-conference room with 20 programmers shoved in there each with 3 feet of desk space and enough room to push their chairback and shove by their co-workers to go to the bathroom. (Obviously that's the bad end of the spectrum :) Your productivity may be higher but at what price? You have no privacy, you have to deal constantly with the personal (eating, hygene, social) issues of your fellow employees and the lack of your own space lowers your sense of value to the company.

Higher productivity in the shortrun doesn't make up for the higher stress and loss of company loyalty in the long run.

-Zane

Re:extreme programming (3)

c_g12 (262068) | more than 13 years ago | (#561783)

Remind you of Highschool? One guy slacks off while the other works, and they share the credit... Also consider the stress factor of War Rooms, they may seem more productive, but in the long run this environment may cause more burn-outs and a high personel turn-over.

War room worked fine, until... (4)

Aya (115435) | more than 13 years ago | (#561784)

...Until the web designer decided his Super Soaker was more effective than our nerf weapons.

He chased one programmer into the server room. This resulted in an entire rack filled with fried boards.

So, it might be effective... as long as general stupidity is taken into consideration.

Peopleware and IRC as War room (3)

ry4an (1568) | more than 13 years ago | (#561785)

In the book Peopleware [slashdot.org] DeMarco and Lister theorize that this works whereas everyone just packed in working on different shit doesn't because everyone's in the same mode at the same time. When you're designing you're all designing, and when you're rushing for a deadline and coding like mad everyone is.

I telecommute and we use IRC as our war room. It works great 'cause I can tune in and out w/o hassle.
--

Re:What exactly is a War Room anyways? (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 13 years ago | (#561786)

A war room setup is a room without cubicals or other boundries between people working on the same project.

Re:War room is great, but... (1)

PD (9577) | more than 13 years ago | (#561787)

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here... this is the WAR ROOM!

Re:The reason it works (1)

Mumble01 (5809) | more than 13 years ago | (#561788)

I agree completely. I probably wouldn't be surfing /. right now if I was in a war room. And I sure as hell wouldn't check my Hotmail four hundred times a day while doing compiles.

I wonder if I need counseling...

Re:yeah, but you better have good headphones (2)

Cyclopatra (230231) | more than 13 years ago | (#561789)

My company has all the programmers set up in one big room like this. We call it the "code farm". Noise is definitely a problem - particularly when the senior programmers across the room get into one of their arguments, or when the summer interns are getting silly. Headphones are a must.

Another problem I have with this is that, well, when I'm coding I get kind of weird. I sit around with my tongue sticking out of my mouth, I make odd noises when something works or doesn't, I hold long, one-sided conversations with my code ("Why are you doing this to me? What have I ever done to you that you would behave like this? Oh, don't you dare tell me I wrote you that way, that's no excuse...") or start swearing at it - and I have a foul mouth when something just won't work. If my headphones are on, I bop around to the music and lip sync. All in all, I'm faced in the "farm" with the choice of looking like an idiot or making sure I never fall into "the zone" - which of course means I'm not doing my best work.

OTOH, it is really useful when you're working with other people who you need to be in close contact with, or if you're mentoring/being mentored by another programmer, and the guilt factor probably does lead to less goofing off. I think it's really dependent upon what you're doing and what kind of environment you work well in (not to mention whether you look like a kook while you work).

-Cyclopatra

Bah (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#561790)

"War rooms" increase productivity?

Bah. Come on, people. There are 1001 better ways to improve efficiency than to rearrange the office furniture and give everyone a pretty view.

  • Keep a hetergeneous network
  • . There's nothing more frustrating for your developers than having to learn 3 different environments, compile on 3 different platforms, and test on 3 different platforms. Pick one, and use it EVERYWHERE, without exception.
  • Keep your developers on a short leash
  • . It sounds like a bad idea at first, but think about it. Your best hackers all have low attention spans, and will tinker with anything that can be tinkered with. Don't give them root - anywhere - or you'll be faced with your best workers spending days at a time installing unneeded SCSI backup devices, tweaking quotas on the file servers, adding VPNs, WANs, and other unneeded "enhancements" right down to 200 various text editors, all for their own amusement. Your hackers should have normal user access to their machine, and NO OTHERS.
  • Train your administrators in house. Don't depend on their previous experience to do it for you. Admins are a dime a dozen these days; and most of them have learned bad habits from previous employers. You want to hire young admins, making sure that they've got several current certifications (MSCE, Oracle, Netware all have cert programs) to ensure that they're intelligent and have a desire to stay current. Bring them on board, and teach them YOUR way. No bad habits brought in, no bad habits learned, and *boom* instant administrator, just add paycheck.

  • Keep everyone's code isolated. The less people that are mucking with critical sections, the better. Many hands in the pie create large messes and broken builds. If one person writes a critical section that they test and verify as working, don't break it by letting someone else add or tweak things that they didn't write, and therefore don't fully understand.

Re:Use of terminology... (2)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 13 years ago | (#561791)

>"Can't we all just get along?"

Nope. Not in a capitalist economy. Capitalism implies (hell, it defines!) competition, conflict, and 'only the strong survive.' Competing agencies getting along is anathema to capitalism.


Bull. Capitalism is NOT "only the strong survive," and "getting along" is NOT "anathema to capitalism." Capitalism is freedom; often players in a capitalist economy specialize and then work together, because they are free to do so and it is to their benefit.

Sad, ain't it?
Slurs and misunderstanding sure are.


________________________________________

Re:Sense of purpose, perhaps? (1)

JdV!! (231613) | more than 13 years ago | (#561792)

We started our company about nine months ago and spend the first two in the basement of one of us. There were four guys, old crappy office furniture that we found somewhere, loud music, an @home link and tons of equipment.

Even though it nearly gave me carpal tunnel, due to both the crappy furniture and the insane amount of code we produced, we has a really great time, and it allowed us to produce a demo of our ideas really, really fast, which in turn allowed "the suits" (who occupied "real" offices in a different city), to gather enough VC to get us started.

Needless to say that, now that we have offices and moving to bigger ones next week, "Jeff's basement" has a mythical ring to it in our company, and even though production is still pretty good, it's really hard to recapture that atmosphere...

Is this warroom enough for ya?

Jan.

Re:For a while, yes ... (1)

Totally Desensitized (102623) | more than 13 years ago | (#561793)

What if they are hackers and not just simple software engineers. Seriously though if you are maing some sort of distinction using this terminology I think working in a hacker mode which I would say is creatively but without the strict methodology is very effective in the team room type environment esp because there is less likely to be the fancy group SW eng tools which facilitate though often over structure communication of pieces of a project.

"You can't fight in here, this is the War Room!" (3)

scotay (195240) | more than 13 years ago | (#561794)

I had one "war room" development experience. Not sure if was the company's idea or Anderson consulting.

No cubicles, no dividers, and no monitors that faced into walls or corners. Everything was public and open to inspection at all times. At first, the lack of privacy was maddening. Even if you had time to surf for porn, you wouldn't dare. The noise was a problem, but I found that you quickly adapted. Most people were pissed to fuming at the beginning but this passed.

The most amazing thing was the teaming that went on. You would think this sort of forced teaming wouldn't work, but it did. Programmers that normally played their hands close to the deck became show offs. Spontaneous groups would form for discussion or demos or to show off some nice coding tricks. By simply removing cubicles, a totally different dynamic was created!

I now work alone much of the time and I miss my "war room" days. Maybe more companies will follow if the productivity claims are proven. Maybe in the future, programmers will be placed in open glass enclosures to be shown off during company tours. As long as those touring are advised to keep their hands away from the programmers, there should be little injury. Most programmers might be surprised that they would actually thrive in a fishbowl of an environment. I know I was.

It is prisoner's dilemma (2)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 13 years ago | (#561795)

But it's a repeated prisoner's dilemma game, every moment, as long as you both are working. In other words, if you decide to start goofing off, and your partner decides to work, he gets to change his mind as soon as he sees you slacking.

Sure, when you play PD once, there's no reason not to defect. If you play a thousand times against the same player, on the other hand, defecting even once is dangerous.

Of course, it breaks down a little... in PD, if you both defect, you both lose. In real life, if you both goof off, but not so long that you delay the project, you feel like you've both won.

Bad Habits? (2)

juuri (7678) | more than 13 years ago | (#561796)

No bad habits... and you advocate sending them to get certifications?

I'm sorry but most certification programs do nothing but teach people bad habits. Asside from Cisco's, very few of them deal with real world scenarios that a typical admin will experience. And a certification is not experience... its nothing but a bit of fact learning and memorization for things that will prolly not ever get used much in the real world.

A Certifcation doesn't show a desire to stay current, it shows a desire to pad one's salary.

Bring in young admins who are eager and smart. Its that simple. They needs certifications to prove they are smart... simple lay out a couple of problems (some of which have nothing to do with computers) and ask them how they would solve them.

Keep code isolated? Where do you work? In the real world lots of people touch other people's code because thats the only way its ever going to work. Source control is a wonderous thing... learn it.

Re:What exactly is a War Room anyways? (1)

Mumble01 (5809) | more than 13 years ago | (#561797)

I'll show my ignorance. Why doesn't Slashdot ever get Slashdotted?

Re:Sense of purpose, perhaps? (1)

CrosseyedPainless (27978) | more than 13 years ago | (#561798)

On a lighter note, does anyone out there work in a "war room" type enviornment? It sounds like somewhere I'd like to work, but only if the chairs were leather and really comfortable ;)

I do, and it works. It really makes up for lack of communication, makes consultation easy, promotes a general group-organism kind of thing. Pretty cool, really.

War .. What is it good for ? Absolutly somethin` (2)

RembrandtX (240864) | more than 13 years ago | (#561799)

finally, someone who supports my movement away from cubes.

I have probally been a lucky guy. All the companies I have worked for (for the most part) have been of the 'war room' mentality

  • Games-Workshop - WarRoom
  • @Home - WarRoom
  • Black&Decker - WarRoom (more or less)
  • ProxiCom (on loan)- WarishRoom

Actually @home (Comcast division) was the one that started out NOT as a WarRoom. It was cubicle world, and i'll tell you .. productivity was horrible. (nothing like having absolute privace when you want to play a little quake eh ?) but I moved to the web side, and that was like a bullpen. It was great. If I was having a code problem - I just had to say 'HEY!' and someone might have an answer.

C.H.I.M.P's abounded, so we might not even have to look away from our screens. Pr0n surfing, and goofing off was not activly discouraged, but when all your companions are busting a$$ to meet deadline - you feel a LOT more guilty looking at e-bay, (or slashdotting i suppose *grin*)

at the contractors im working with now (for the new blackanddecker.com [blackanddecker.com] site), its a low cubicle wall place .. in nice ordly rows, with lots of caffinated beverages for free in the kitchen. Its a more-or-less war room environment. There are tv's here, and people talk to each other more readily. (The graphics part of the company was busily setting up a slot car track about 30 mins ago .. smelled of Ozone galore !) However, in the last week (of crunch time) i have probally worked 60+ hours with this site .. and honestly .. its been a HELL of a lot easier to do so, than if i was stairing at the grey fabric covered walls of a cube.

Last week (admist a spontanious poll of how many people had a sock monkey [thinkgeek.com] as a kid - so far its 28 vs 20 .. close race - 2 voted "what the hell is a sock monkey", prompting for some RATHER interesting drawings on the 'warboard' ) we were here untill midnight (with some chineese food as fortification.) Much easier, and actually kind of FUN. Although I kinda glad that im not expected to do that it every day.

I'm all for the war room, sides .. its easier to shoot your boss with a nerfball when you can see him all the time.

Hawthorne Effect ??? (5)

redelm (54142) | more than 13 years ago | (#561800)

How much of this alleged increased productivity was simply due to the Hawthorne Effect?

Researchers many years ago at a GE plant in Hawthorne, England wanted to demonstrate the effect of improved lighting. So they increased lighting levels, and lo, productivity went up.

The problem came during the check-back when they lowered lighting levels to the original lux. Productivity went up even further!

It turns out the Heizenberg's uncertainty principle applies to people as well: If you measure and watch something, people react to the closer attention.

Re:Crappy Buzzword (1)

Tuzanor (125152) | more than 13 years ago | (#561801)

happy-fun-good-worker room

There already is one of those, it's called the photocopy room ;-)

Re:For a while, yes ... (1)

mantis78 (170556) | more than 13 years ago | (#561802)

Absolutely right on the point!
Army perform their best in war mode but they
will just end up being nuts if the war mode is
turned on too long (e.g. Vietnam war etc.)
So, unless you are looking forward to pay
a ton of cash to service your software engineers'
visits to the shrink... war mode should be like
DefCon 5... used only when it really calls for it.
When the "troopers" come home victorious, the
management has better give out "medals" and maybe
even a "heroes' welcome".

--
DevCon5 in computer world == A new Outlook virus
out when your entire system is 100% MS based.
--

I worked in one of these... (5)

jmaslak (39422) | more than 13 years ago | (#561803)

I worked with two other people in a "mega cube" (with 6' high permenant "walls"). We dubbed it the "Playpen". The company firmly believed in giving people the resources they needed to do our jobs, so we had:

1) A very large whiteboard on one wall - with no furnature in front of it.

2) A spare computer and desk for "guests" to use during technical discussions (also used as a second terminal for the residents if they needed to run something that took a lot of resources)

3) It was a corner office in a tall office building, so it had an awesome view

4) Each person had their own phone

5) Nice workstations with 21" monitors

6) A comfortable "poof chair" (it is sort of a "full body" bean bag)

7) A shared bookshelf, so that you could borrow each other's books.

8) A collection of office toys, including a rubber-band powered plane (OSHA wouldn't have liked us flying that in the cube; too bad) and a bat suspended from the ceiling (it claimed to have a "soothing motion" - it didn't).

It worked VERY well since the three of us that shared the office all worked on the same projects at the same time. This environment was easily the most productive environment I've worked in.

People have mentioned "noise", though. It was true that music could be an issue. I recommend that companies buy GOOD headphones for every employee - a pair of $200 headphones can sound better than a $1000 set of speakers; once everyone has a set of these, you won't be able to pay them to listen to music on crappy computer speakers. The headphones should allow outside sound in and have at least 25' of cord (use an extension if you must).

As for ringing phones, that WAS annoying! It wasn't too bad, though, because we also had a "mini room" (actually two spare offices) across the hall. These rooms were used when people needed to have a long phone conversation, as they could go in and shut the door. This also gave some privacy. It was considered rude to talk for hours in the megacube, unless you were talking to everyone else there.

The furnature consisted of whatever we could dig up. I would recommend nice desks (single piece, not a U or L shaped desk) with LOTS of small tables. The ones that we had were 3' by 3' tables that could be configured however we wanted. If you wanted a "L" desk, you just grabbed three of these and put them on the left of your desk. I actually had a wrap-around desk build out of these. The nice thing is that you can reconfigure your space as appropriate for your work. We could, for instance, build a conference table in the middle of the room in a matter of minutes. All those nice "executive" desks really fall short in the ability to adjust to the work environment - they are nice for people who crave status symbols, but not for many others.

As you can see, though, this didn't save the company any money. The three of us had about twice the space we would have had if we lived in cubes. Not many companies could justify buying a poof chair for a space like this. Most environments I've worked in refuse to buy the most modern workstations for programmers, and 21" monitors are, sadly, rare. But, we were much more productive and I believe that our space and equipment cost less than additional employees would have.

I would also say that some of the positives of this environment came accidently. For instance, the company didn't think that being cheap on a bookshelf would increase productivity, but it did!

sustainable productivity? quality? (2)

Cheetahfeathers (93473) | more than 13 years ago | (#561804)

Perhaps it doubles productivity, but how sustainable is that productivity? Burn out is an important thing to avoid. Also, how high is the quality of what these people are doing? Writing twice as many lines of code does _not_ mean you are twice as productive, if you end up with tons of bugs as a result.

Pushing people do do more and to work longer and get things done faster is not the best way to get a productive work enviornment.

Re:yeah, but you better have good headphones (1)

Quikah (14419) | more than 13 years ago | (#561805)

that's probably pretty much the same w/ a floor full of cubicles.

Yeah, especially when your coworkers are a bunch of idiots who think that walkway = conference room.

Open areas are better, IMHO. (1)

PixelJuice (208831) | more than 13 years ago | (#561806)

I work for a software engineering company with about 150 people spread out over two floors. We run the entire shop as open areas. Not cubicles, not offices - just an open area with plenty of power points, network drops and cellphones (wireless LAN forthcoming).

The advantage? Well, first of all, you're not limited by space constraints. When forming a new team, you simply put the right number of desks together, bring your computer, your cabinet, your chair and your coffee mug. With the right office furniture (pie-slice shaped desks), you can create a war camp for any number of people (well, at least six to twelve of them). Not being constrained by cubicle walls or office walls means being able to bring everyone (including testers, project managers and technical writers) into the team from square one without wasting real estate by having large war rooms that might not be filled. It also makes it much easier to move things like big whiteboards and 19" cabinets around.

Disadvantages? Very few. Some people don't like working in open areas and some people aren't team members. For those people, there are a few private offices that can be reserved for any period of time. There are also a few small rooms (1mx1m) scattered around the office, used for taking private phone calls.

As for privacy -- well, that's an issue (at least if you plan to visit hotgritsonnatalieportman.com during working hours). The solution is to be the first or second person to move into the new war camp, to be sure you can get your back against a wall :-)

The problem is morale (2)

EvlG (24576) | more than 13 years ago | (#561807)

Sometimes it is really, really nice to be able to retreat into the confines of your cube and smash out some work. Having to live in the immediate presence of your coworkers may make you get a lot more done, but in my experience it has always made me much more edgy. Sometimes I need to just get away from the others and pound out the code. Having to endure other people's eyes on me all the time gets to me eventually.

Re:Use of terminology... (2)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 13 years ago | (#561808)

OK, maybe instead of 'defines...', I should have said 'is de facto...'

I'm afraid that I don't believe it, though. Capitalism invariably degenerates into economic head-butting. Companies that work together, only do so to compete more aggressively against the competition. Intel and MS, for instance have worked together for years because they don't directly compete, but rather complement each other; and they've leveraged that collaboration to keep the upper edge. How many Alphas running OS/2 were sold in 1995-1997? (when the agreement was at its strongest, and also when those competing companies were producing very viable consumer products)

You may not agree, but that's how I see it.

It's keeps them from fighting (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 13 years ago | (#561809)

Everyone knows...

Gentlemen! You can't fight in here! It's the war room!
---

Brown nose (1)

DigitalDragon (194314) | more than 13 years ago | (#561810)

What's up with that? Hemos? CmdrTaco? Duh, those are the greatest programmers that participate in Linux movement? Do you think that sucking up this way to /. owners is going to result in +50 karma increase?

I say, vote for Jon Katz, now that's the guy to be locked in with! :)


Re:What exactly is a War Room anyways? (1)

Mad Browser (11442) | more than 13 years ago | (#561811)

The reason sites get Slashdotted is that they are usually hit with a much higher than average load all at a sudden. Usually this load is much greater than they were designed to handle, thus they crumble.

Slashdot's load is fairly consistent, I would imagine and they have planned their architecture accordingly.
-Hunter

Re:Get 'em coding (1)

Teancom (13486) | more than 13 years ago | (#561812)

For the other two fellows who didn't catch it, he was saying putting Hemos and CmdrTaco in there would result in less double postings. Nothing else. For the same reason, you aren't putting Rasterman and Mandrake in there to work on the kernel. Of course, they are working as hard as they can already, and if I know the four of them (note, I don't know Linux, Alan, Jens, or Ted) they would spend a lot more time drinking Guiness and arguing over whose turn it is to get the twinkies, then any real work ;-) (given this situation)

Re:Peopleware and IRC as War room (2)

Joe Rumsey (2194) | more than 13 years ago | (#561813)

I don't telecommute, but we still use IRC as our war room. Everyone new thinks it's a lousy idea, until they try it for a couple of hours, then they're all converts. Having an IRC server, even when everyone's in cubes or offices in a 50 foot radius, is still a great thing. It's tons faster than email or walking over to ask stupid questions like "Did you check that file in yet?" and much less distracting than a phone call or a walk-over. It's also great for passing URLs to good time wasting sites around, so I'm not certain it actually helps productivity, but I'm fairly certain it hasn't hurt either. I highly recommend it to everyone, no matter how silly you feel at first talking to people 20 feet away via IRC.

As long as we get some new equipment (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 13 years ago | (#561814)

I must admit that sounds interesting. I just need to go to work for a company that has more than just me as the programmer.

I love working in an environment that includes other people next to or nearby. Where you can just ask a question out loud at normal volume levels and have somebody answer it vs. having to walk through a maze, schedule a meeting, or call a telecommuter at home.

It's all about instant communication. You need to tell somebody something, they're right there. You need to go over some specs, you give yourself a good shove and slide your chair over. How can that NOT be more productive that isolation.

When everybody is nearby it also turns into somewhat of a competition. I did 1200 lines today, how much did you do? I just fragged my 34th bug of the day.

Re:XP favours a similar approach (1)

Socializing Agent (262655) | more than 13 years ago | (#561815)

And: "already favors expensive seminars sold to clueless PHB's"

Just doing my part to keep the bullshit level down around here.
Actually, no, it's "favours". Show respect to the nation who created the language which you so readily butcher.

As an engineer who was recently "demoted" to management, I take extreme umbrage at your comments. XP works because developers love it, not because management bought a seminar (for the record, I have never attended a "management seminar" and I do quite well, because I have the engineer's perspective) These benefits to the developer "trickle-up" in the form of more reliable code and fewer missed deadlines. If it didn't work, it would fall into disuse.

No development methodology is a panacaea, but XP has been invaluable in my group. That's all I'm saying.

Re:Bah (2)

Andreas Bombe (7266) | more than 13 years ago | (#561816)

Keep a hetergeneous network. [...] Pick one, and use it EVERYWHERE, without exception.

You seem to be mixing up hetero and homo here.

Re:Bah (2)

technos (73414) | more than 13 years ago | (#561817)

You mean homogeneous network, and you're wrong. Unless you're Microsoft, (And even if you are in some cases) there will be at least two platforms you're aiming at: Apple and Win32.
Within Win32, you need to do QA on at least four platforms: Windows95, Windows98, NT4.0 and Win2000. If you're a *nix software shop, you'll need at least four of the following: Irix, Tru/64, AIX, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Linux, OS/X, QNX or BeOS.

And I agree with the previous poster; Certs show nothing and teach little. On the other hand, experience is something you can't pay enough for. When the raid on the fileserver starts to go, do you want a MCSE who barely knows how it works and has to spend forty minutes in the Knowledge base and manuals to deal with it, and then has to run to another tech to double check, or the uncertified guy who has seen the problem before and could deal with it on the spot??

It would increase my.. (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 13 years ago | (#561818)

.. productivity. I mean I'd love to work someplace that had a whore room! I' never go home.
what??
oh WAR room. nevermind.

Re:Bah (2)

jafac (1449) | more than 13 years ago | (#561819)

um - no Solaris? You might want to include the #1 Unix. (#1 not be technical merit, of course! let's not go *there*, but let's not forget this clearly important species)

Re:War .. What is it good for ? Absolutly somethin (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 13 years ago | (#561820)

Was it the war room mentality to create a site that doesn't work for shit with netscape browsers?
I went to the job posting on the corporate page, it askem to select stuff that did not appear on the page in netscape.
apparently somebody toosed out the idea that only MSIE user need power tools.

Re:extreme programming (1)

xmurf (236569) | more than 13 years ago | (#561821)

Actually, it's happening right now...
My partner also happens to be my best friend in the real world, (we met a long time ago, and then ended up working in the same place)..
He's been in this job for like one year more than me, and it already looks like I'm his boss... he goes out early, gets here late, plays around all day doing this and that, and he never gets the job done!

That shit pisses me off, because, I work my ass off all day.

So, it is true... Working in a war room might be better for performance (I work in a cube inside a war room!), but believe me, when you're stressed out, and the only thing you want to do to calm down is working some more, and the asshole beside you does nothing but pick his nose and stick the boogers in the keyb, you'll be wishing you were in a cube farm.

An that's all i have to say about now.

Re:Sense of purpose, perhaps? (1)

lomion (33716) | more than 13 years ago | (#561822)

At my place of work, my department (me and my lackey) work in a large room that os basically a war-room. It makes life alot easier.

I think its the whole social animal thing, ppl are social (even geeks). Also a cubical is confining, if you feel caged or confined stress rises, etc.

relevent links... (2)

bdavenport (78697) | more than 13 years ago | (#561823)

here's [steelcase.com] a conference paper that has some of the ideas of the study...it is not merely limited to programmers though, but it is relevant and written by one of the authors [rutgers.edu] .

Re: Better Buzzword (1)

Vegan Pagan (251984) | more than 13 years ago | (#561824)

How about common area, or the lab?

Re:XP favours a similar approach (3)

wnissen (59924) | more than 13 years ago | (#561825)

What's interesting is that another rather sophisticated software development book, Software Project Survival Guide [construx.com] by McConnell says that one or two person offices are much better than more open, less private cube farms. He cites "After 15 Years," an essay by Tom DeMArco and Timothy Lister, that was published in the book Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams. They claim that workers who work in the top 25% of environments are 2.5 times more prodcutive than those in the bottom 25%. Maybe the addition of being in extremely close contact is enough to overcome the distractions.

I'd like to see more research. Take the same team, put them in cubes, offices, and war rooms, and see how they do. It strikes me as entirely possible that the practices they talk about in the article as only being possible in "extreme collocation" are in fact applicable to any development team. Thus, the real factor is the implementation of software development best practices, and not the work environment. And there's plenty of studies that show good software process to be helpful, so it's not surprising that there was a big jump in productivity.

Well, I'm off to do some software process, by myself in my office. Gotta get those requirements written down...

Walt

It answers the wrong question (1)

Kefaa (76147) | more than 13 years ago | (#561826)

Given a select team, with access to the necessary materials, specifications and resources, while being allowed to control scope and the Hawthorne Effect, projects are done twice as fast.

Forgive me the soap box, but does this sound like projects you work on? In general specifications are ambiguous, the requirements unclear and access to the materials and people are often on a "when available" basis.

I hope my tax dollars did not pay for this.

slacking (3)

aozilla (133143) | more than 13 years ago | (#561827)

Sorry, but good programmers who spend 1/10 of their day coding will outperform average programmers who spend 9/10 of their day coding every time. The way to increase productivity is to hire good programmers and give them the work environment to keep them there. The manager's job is to get the bullshit out of the way so the programmer can focus on what she does best. All the rest is touchy-feely nonsense.

Re:Sense of purpose, perhaps? (1)

clink (148395) | more than 13 years ago | (#561828)

I agree with your analysis. I work in a cube and I think I would do a lot better in a war room. To be honest, I don't have the greatest work ethic but I am a competitive person. If I were in a war room I think I'd feel more pressure to produce and not let the team down. My .02 from cubeville.

Saddly :( (1)

RembrandtX (240864) | more than 13 years ago | (#561829)

Saddly .. thats not me, that would be the microsoft nazi's that controll our IT department. *NO UNIX FOR YOU!*

however .. i *DO* thank you for the ammunition, considering the person who wrote that page was REALLY trying to discredit me a few weeks ago because the new site has some problems with netscape 6.0.

*sigh* gotta love iis

Re:i know what this is all about (1)

Grog6 (85859) | more than 13 years ago | (#561830)

Actually, bong materials are best used for C or assembler; the others don't require enough effort to stay awake at the trancendental level of awareness!
Besides, everyone knows that windows was written on a mix of free flowing coke. (a cola?)

Re:with many eyes, all bugs are shallow (1)

eric17 (53263) | more than 13 years ago | (#561831)

I dunno, if someone was in my office "shouting out questions", I'd not be working there long, or I'd go postal, one of the two. This war room idea works out great for the guys who don't know anything, but the experienced people get too many interuptions and time wasted hand holding to remain productive.

Possibly the ideal is a common room, and everyone has a laptop. Rapid prototyping can happen in the war room, and once things have been settled, retire to your office and crank out the code.

Re:Hawthorne Effect ??? (1)

J.J. (27067) | more than 13 years ago | (#561832)

I remember from my studies a slightly different interpretation.

Each time the lighting levels were changed, productivity increased. As time wore on, that increased productivity eventually sunk back to normal levels, until the lighting was changed again at which point the productivity increased, again. The final analysis was that the productivity increases were a result of change, as oppossed to any specific level of lighting.

You can see the result of this in lots of corporations these days, not the least of which is Microsoft, whose development teams change buildings and offices about every 18 months.

J.J.

Also: Whipping and video surveillance help too (4)

xant (99438) | more than 13 years ago | (#561833)

Not to mention keystroke monitors, hidden microphones, and the random execution of anyone caught surfing inappropriate websites.
--

Re:Sense of purpose, perhaps? (1)

tjb (226873) | more than 13 years ago | (#561834)

At work, the engineers we each get an office that they might share with one or two other people. We also get a bench in a big-ass war-room style lab. In general, most people do their heavy coding on their office PC where it is quiet, and then move to their lab bench for debugging becuase that's where the toys are (logic analyzers, scopes, etc.). It kinda gives a best of both worlds - the ability to slink away when you need to think and good communication when you need to fix.

Re:Bah (1)

eric17 (53263) | more than 13 years ago | (#561835)

I worked once in a place like this. It sucked dead bunnies through a bent straw. I think of it as the "control" method of management. It works to a certain extent, but your good people tend to become unsatisfied and leave.... The opposite end of the spectrum is the "lead" method. In this you make sure everyone knows the goal, provide incentives, hire talented people, and have common code. Talented people just need direction, not control. They know when they are in over their head, you don't need to cage them in. And they inherently want challenges, give it to them.

Re:Use of terminology... (2)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 13 years ago | (#561836)

You may not agree, but that's how I see it.

You stated your position a little more reasonably; and I more or less agree with the content of your statement, but not the sentiment. You think that competition is a bad thing; I think it is a good thing.

With what would you replace competition? Who knows so much that they can pick the correct product/strategy/etc. at the outset? And are people so homogenous that they would be happy with a pre-ordained choice? Or are you thinking of some method of having choices in similar products somehow without competition?


________________________________________

Re:extreme programming (1)

fatcow (121528) | more than 13 years ago | (#561837)

Hey that is a really nice site.

I bet Mozilla [mozilla.org] could use some of these techniques.

Re:Hawthorne Effect ??? (1)

MattJ (14813) | more than 13 years ago | (#561838)

The Hawthorne plant was a General Electric plant in Cicero, IL, not England[1]. Also, be sure it's the Hawthorne Effect you suspect, and not the Halo Effect, the Pygmalion Effect, the John Henry Effect, the Placebo Effect, or Post Group Euphoria[2].

[1] http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/417/417lect05.htm
[2] http://www.mailbase.ac.uk/lists/outres/1998-02/000 1.html

Short term increase only... (1)

aralin (107264) | more than 13 years ago | (#561839)

Well, in my opinion, this increase of productivity is short term only and will not result in overall raise in productivity through whole company. I have several reasons for this:
  1. After some time people will feel comfortable with this new way and start to chat about non-working issues constantly which will drag other employees that would otherwise work into the debate. Have one such person and it destroys morale of whole team.
  2. Even if they will work more, they will soon feel tired and start to complain that they work too much. You can go on for 6 months, maybe longer, but then you will start to feel exhausted. The company will slowly start to lose their best employees. Since the best always leave first.
  3. The team work will make the best work more since the begginers will constantly ask some questions and ask for help. When you are let alone, you at least try to do something yourself, but when you have guru at hand, its so much easier to raise your head and fire a question.
Despite of this, I think this type of work can be used, but not constantly. In my opinion you can do 2 days a week some kind of workshop where all of the team work together and the rest of week close them in cubes. This would most likely serve pretty well.

Old habits die hard. (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 13 years ago | (#561840)

My first reaction when I read this was, "The less privacy you have at work, the lower you are on the ladder."

Not entirely true but that's still a common perception. The big bosses have big offices with windows and doors. The next level down is smaller offices with doors but no (or smaller) windows. Then there's cubes. Then there's people who sit at a table wherever a few feet of floor space open up. In the corporate world, the amount of space set aside for you as an individual is your status symbol.

If a company wants to move to this kind of environment for day-to-day work, I think they should take great care to make sure that the employees understand that they are still just as valuable as they always were. That could even require retaining individual office space so that the employees have a bolt hole - someplace they can go to work on those things that require privacy and concentration. A place to take calls from the wife/doctor/financial planner that don't work well in public. A place to hang pictures and stick dilbert strips to the door.

It's all about communication! (2)

WeirdEd (124058) | more than 13 years ago | (#561841)

Having worked in several very fast-paced projects (mostly in .com startups) this has definitely proven to be very effective. IMHO, it all comes down to communication.

In a war room, direct interpersonal communication is easily available at all times. Advantages compared to technology aided communication of any kind are the very high bandwidth of communication (tone, body language, ...) and very quick latency.

Since people are in the same room most of the time, communication is always a multicast to all people related to the project. Using headphones, people that don't want to be disturbed can "filter" out such multicasts.

Sitting next to each other also makes social contacts very easy. People get to know each other. After a short while, they also feel a team spirit which shows in toys, t-shirts and common habits.

From my personal experience I can say that war rooms not only improve productivity, but make work a lot more fun!

Re:"You can't fight in here, this is the War Room! (1)

neowintermute (81982) | more than 13 years ago | (#561842)

holy shit that's funny!!!

LOL

___________________________
http://www.hyperpoem.net [hyperpoem.net]
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  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>