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Chapter 5. Official Space > Collaborative Communication

Collaborative Communication

For efficient collaboration, project teams do need space: space of their own as a team, space laid out to their needs as a team. The best evidence points to the need for a mix of open and closed spaces for smooth collaboration. Offices should support groups of two or three people working together intensively for shorter or extended periods and have at least one locale for meetings of the entire project staff. If there is no place where the entire team can meet comfortably, building the team into a cohesive working unit will be much harder.

One software manager ardently supported project teamwork but was disappointed with the quality of collaboration among his software developers. The floor where they worked was a fun-house maze of narrow corridors with tiny little glass-walled offices—isolated but not private. Few offices were big enough for two, and those that were large enough often held office mates who were assigned to different projects. I observed one team scheduled for a meeting in the largest conference room on the floor. Eleven developers crammed into a room that held a conference table and six chairs with about seven inches clearance all around. Between the end of the table and a small whiteboard was barely room for the team leader to pace and turn. Needless to say, the meeting was brief.


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