Microsoft patterns & practices Agile Workspace Tour


This post is a walk through the halls of our Microsoft patterns & practices team workspace. 3-patterns-and-practices-Hall
Ward Cunningham among others was a big influence early on in making it happen.  The patterns & practices team workspace is optimized for agile development practices.  The workspace features writeable walls, configurable workspace, speaker phones, projectors, focus rooms, and a customer room.

I took the pictures about a year ago.  Some things have changed, but the key things are still the same.  I arranged the pictures as a lap through the halls to make it easy to follow and so I could point out things along the way.

The Floor Plan (The Ship)
Before the patterns & practices workspace was built, it was modeled on paper. 


Here’s a drawing of the patterns & practices floor plan.   Think of the workspace as a big ship, next to a dock.  If you slice the ship into 3 long, vertical slices, you get:

  1. The Left-side of the ship.  The left-side is a long hallway that includes the product management team, the program manager team, the architects, and the general manager (Product Unit Manager office now.)   The PUM’s office is at the top of the ship.
  2. The Middle of the ship.  This is the bulk of the configurable workspace, including the team rooms, such as for the factories and Enterprise Library.  It also includes focus rooms and a large, open space at the top of the ship.  We use the large open space, which includes a large monitor for fireside chats, X-Box, and team presentations.  The development teams spend the bulk of their time in the team rooms.
  3. The Right-side of the ship.   The right side of the ship is a long hallway that includes the test team. the customer room, and the development team manager.  The development team manager’s office is at the top of the ship.

If we turn our attention to the dock, it’s a large, open space with workstations.  The patterns & practices edit team sits in the surrounding offices.  The CodePlex team now occupies the large open space in the middle.

World Map

One of the features in the hall has been a map of where various patterns & practices team members are from:


Team members stick little notes on the map to show where they’re from.

patterns & practices Summit Map
Another hallmark in the hallway is a poster of one of the patterns & practices Summits:


The poster includes keynote speakers and presenters from the summit.  Members from the patterns & practices team make up the bulk of the presenter list.

patterns & practices Hallway

This is the starting point for our tour.  It starts with a large patterns & practices sign on the wall:


For our tour, we’ll start at the bottom right-hand side of the ship and loop around so we come out on the bottom of the left-hand side of the ship.

Blue Books on Display
When you first enter the hall, you’ll see blue books on display:


The Hallway
This is a shot of the hallway (the right-side of the ship):


Guidance Team Room
On our left, is one of the team rooms where we’ve built a few of the guides.  This is where we built Improving Web Services Security (the WCF Security Guide) and Application Architecture Guide 2.0.


Here’s the same room from another angle:


The CodePlex Workspace
On our right (the dock), we see the open area that is currently the CodePlex workspace:


Foosball Table
One of the cornerstones of patterns & practices is our foosball table:


It’s been through a lot.  It’s actually helped improve cross-team collaboration within patterns & practices.

Test Team Office
Continuing our walk down the hall, on the right we see an office that belongs to our test team:


Enterprise Library Team Room

On the left hand side (the middle of the ship), is a shot of the Enterprise Library Team room:


Customer Room
This is our customer room.  This picture is from just outside:


Here’s another picture from within the room:


The table is purposefully shaped from thinner to wider so that everybody can easily see each other.

On the Shelf in the Halls
Just outside the customer room, is a shelf that displays some of the models we used for some of the patterns & practices solution assets:


Focus Room
The focus rooms are small, enclosed rooms with chairs, a phone, and a whiteboard:


Here’s a picture inside the focus room:


Insights Wheel
Another staple in the halls is a display of the patterns & practices Insights Wheel:


The Insights Wheel is a mapping of the color energies of folks on the team.  For example, red is a focus on results, blue is a focus on thinking, yellow is a focus on motivation, and green is a focus on helping and supporting.  We’ve used the color wheel to help improve interpersonal skills by adjusting for different color preferences.

The Main Open Space
This is a picture of the main open space:


It’s where we do our fireside chats, team presentations, and play X-box or watch movies.

Development  Team Manager’s Office
This is a picture of the development team manager’s office:


It’s at the head of the ship, on the right hand side.  It’s adjacent to the customer room and is right outside of the main open space.

The Corner Office
This is the office of our Product Unit Manager (PUM):


It’s at the head of the ship, on the left-hand side, situated in the corner.  Before renovations, it used to overlook a park surrounded by enormous Evergreen trees.

Factory Team Room
Here’s one of the factory team rooms.  It’s right next to the main open space.  It’s also where the MSF Agile team worked for a while:


Here’s another shot from inside the room:


And another shot:


Caution Geeks at Play
Wherever you turn, there’s usually some sort of memorabilia :


It’s common to see post its on the wall or on a board.  It’s how we capture, share, and prioritize stories.

Architects Office
This office originally served as a shared workspace for the architect team:


Here’s a shot from inside:


PM Team Manager Office
Here’s a shot of the Program Manager Team Manager’s office:


Enterprise Library Team Room
Here’s another shot of the Enterprise Library team, but now from the opposite hallway (the left side of the ship):


PM Office
Here’s a shot of an office of one of the PMs:


Here’s a shot of another PM office:


Product Management Team Manager Office
Here’s a shot of the product management team manager’s office:


Product Management Team
This is the product management team’s shared office.  Here’s a shot just outside:


Here’s a shot from inside the office:


The Hallway
This is a look down the hallway we just walked through (the left-side of the ship):


Product Backlog
This is a picture of the product backlog on the wall opposite the product management team:

This is a picture of the prioritized backlog for 2008:


This is a picture of the patterns & practices Roadmap:


The roadmap was basically a set of priorities and programs to help organize the work for the patterns & practices teams.
Information Model
The information model is an organizing frame for the patterns & practices catalog of assets:

It’s more or less broken down into application scenarios, engineering practices, and building codes.

Application Life-Cycle Management (ALM) Map
The ALM map is also a staple of the hallway outside the product management team:38-patterns-and-practices-ALM

It simply shows the various hot spots that the Team System team cares about and what the patterns & practices team cares about, along with a shared frame.

patterns & practices Developer Center
There’s also a MindMap of our patterns & practices Developer Center in the hallway:

Product Management Team Room
Here’s a picture of the product management team room, just outside the product management team’s offices:


Conference Room
Here’s a picture of one of our conference rooms outside the main workspace area, near the dock:


Lab Manager’s Office
Here’s a picture of the lab manager’s office which has a glass wall to see into the server room:

The Server Room
Here’s the door to the server room:


I forgot to take a picture from inside.

My Office
Here’s my office, looking in from the hallway:


Here’s my computer setup:

Here’s my whiteboard:


I keep things simple.  The plants give a sign of life and greenery.  My whiteboard gets a lot of use.  I keep the center of my office really open so that it’s easy to get a few folks around the whiteboard. or for ad-hoc meetings as needed

Additional Resources
Here’s some additional resources that cover the patterns & practices workspace:

My Related Posts