Successful Collocation Experiment

One of the common practices in most Agile methodologies is the idea of collocation. Tomorrow, 5 of my developers will move back to their home cubes from another building on our campus complete with machines and chairs.

The scenario was we had a nasty large project that had been in defect resolution for well over a year. There were lots of communication issues resolving defects and both sides had a tendency to throw things over the fence and let issues sit for days. Every time I talked about setting up a war room or bringing the QA testers over to sit with the developers I was essentially told it wasn’t going to happen. So this March I decided I probably had the power to move the developers out to the QA area in another building. While I think they were a little surprised I didn’t get that much flack for it. So 6 developers and myself in the afternoons moved over to sit next to the QA staff.

After a lot of missed deadlines on the project, we finally delivered at the end of July for the first time on schedule. While collocation wasn’t the only factor it was a definite contributor. QA and development finally got on the same page. At least one other project team has been collocated now, so hopefully this will be a continuing trend.