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design principles for agile office spaces
At Spotify they did an analysis of all Spotifys RnD offices, how the people move, sit, collaborate and what they like or not.  The analysis has been used to build and renovate all Spotifys new offices.

 

Here are some of the key takeaways I have made from visiting Spotify and talking to them about their RnD office space and what it means to them and how they are looking to redesign the BJG RnD office in Stockholm. This is my interpretation of their thinking expressed in 10 Agile design principles for office spaces to allow aligned autonomy. You can read more about that visit in this post >

 

If you have Agile teams in your organization, or if you are planning to evolve in to an Agile learning organization, these design principles are for you to use to create an environment where Agile teams can thrive.

These are the 10 key design principles for Agile office spaces inspired by Spotify

  • No walls between teams – Instead they use string walls which has become a signature design for the Spotify spaces, allowing the teams to feel just enough separated but still getting the benefit of viewing and listening in to conversations – or they use sofa areas as natural separators. Also the string walls gives the possibility to put up work or fun stuff which makes the space even more personal and visual.
  • Only one coffee machine and kitchen per floor – so that people meet and interact with others outside of their squad (team) and tribe (teams).
  • Every employee should have their own desk – people tend to be very attached to their desks. Especially the developers that have several screens or people with a lot of other equipment or personal features.
  • Desks should be big enough for two people – this is to cater for easy access to pair work, wether it’s pair design or pair programming. High performing Agile teams do this a lot.
  • Sofa area in every squad area – it’s a great place to sit and discuss, and anyone can join in if they have a solution or more information. People also love to lie down and work by them selves during the day. Also they act as separators of space in a nice way.
  • Meeting rooms included in all squad areas – it’s one of the keys to efficient team work at Spotify to never have to book a meeting room to collaborate with people within the team. At Spotify squads have a 2 people meeting room to talk with someone face to face in private, a full squad meeting room – and in the new renovated space they will also have meeting rooms for 4 people.
  • As  much whiteboards as possible – it should be possible to collaborative and brainstorm and leave stuff on the walls on as many places as possible near the squads, but also in collaboration areas. It can never be too many whiteboards in an Agile organization.
  • Big screens accessible in all squad areas and meeting rooms – to make daily meetings efficient all squads have their own screens to use for meetings – and others to use to visualize their data.
  • Video conference equipment in all meeting rooms and squad spaces – it should always be possible to dial in to an office and join an conversation in a good way.
  • Space for fun and relaxation – strive for that everyone should feel at home and that they can find spaces to relax and have fun in, also in their spare time. Invite employees to come to the office with friends on weekends and of course to bring their kids.

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A few weeks ago me and Frida Mangen did a talk on Activity Based Seating for Agile teams for the WE network, Workplace Evolutionaries. Afterwards we invited them for a visit to the old Spotify BJG RnD office to experience and learn more about the mindset of Agile organizations and how the interiors can support high performance teams and aligned autonomy.

The group visiting Spotify consisted of office interior experts off different kinds, designers, architects, scientist and change makers. We met up outside the office at Birgerjarlsgatan. We were warmly welcomed by Zuza Majkowska who was acting as our guide for the tour, and at the end of the tour also Becca who is a team engeneering manager and part of the renovation committee also joins and tells us more about the teams perspective and their work with the ongoing renovation.
This post is mostly a transcription of these conversations during the viewing.

 

The Spotify building consists of 11 floors, and Spotify are renting all floors but one. The tour started in a common space in one of the few big meeting rooms where the group of 22 ppl squeezed in to learn more about Spotify first before viewing the space.

 

Striving for aligned autonomy in everything – also in the office space

Zuza: We are always striving for aligned autonomy at Spotify in everything they do, also in the space of our office.

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Tack Agila Sverige för ännu en fantastiskt bra och inspirerande konferens. Är så tacksam för att få vara en del av det Agila communityt som alltid är lika välkomnande och inkluderande.

Jag fick äran att bli en av de utvalda talarna. Min presentation handlade om resultatet från den undersökning som vi på Dandy People har gjort kring hur de som arbetar i Agila Team påverkas av Aktivitetsbaserade kontor (ABK) – eller vilket det ofta faktiskt egentligen är, Flexibla kontor.

I den här serien av poster finns också:

– Free Infographic 
The Free Report
Free PP slides of the report

See the other posts in this series:
Get  Seated for Agile – Free Infographic Poster (High Resolution PDF) on the topic, with shared learnings and data.
“The Agile Activity Based Seating Report 2018 (or rather Flexible Seating) – Free Slides” – The full report as PDF and slide share.
The first post that started the Series – “Flexibility in Agile and Activity based offices must be a perfect fit” – or does it?

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There is an increasing trend in Sweden to move in to something commonly called Activity Based Seating, what we discovered is often confused with Flexible Seating. We couldn’t find any data on the actual impact of these kind of seatings for Agile Teams. Thats why we did a survey to uncover the “truth” with 177 people answering and an open space session to learn more about what learnings are out there from people working Agile.

The Free Infographic Poster on Agile Seating

Free Infographic - Get seated for agile

Download the Free Infographic – get Seated for Agile here (High resolution PDF) >

The survey was presented at Agila Sverige 2018 and can be found here > At an Open Space session we got together to share experiences people had around ABS. The result of both is shared in this free infographic and we hope this information can bring value to you and your organization so that you can find better solutions together. Please feel free to use the content in any way you like. We would though be happy if you would refer to Dandy People if you take any content out of context. Thank you every one for joining in and sharing your learnings from the trenches of Flexible Seating and really great Activity Based Seating!

In this series of posts you’ll find:

– Free Infographic (your on the right place)
The Free Report
Free PP slides of the report
Video of me presenting the report (Swedish)

Activity Based Seating vs Flexible Seating

Activity Based Seating vs Flexible Seating

Activity Based Seating

  • Flow optimized, aligned with Lean & Agile thinking.
  • If there are Agile Teams, one activity the office is optimized for is Agile Teamwork.
  • More desks than people to optimize for flow.
  • Can be re-arranged quickly for new team members or team collaboration.
  • The goal is high performance teams.

Flexible Seating

  • Resource optimization, against Lean & Agile thinking.
  • No personal desks, fewer seats than employees, clean desk & wall policy.
  • Optimized for individual work, not team work.
  • Many organizations say they do ABS, but it is in fact FS.
  • The organization is “blind” and teamwork is banned.
  • The goal is to save space, and money, but deliveries from teams will fail and stress will increase.

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