Guideline: Open Workspace
Main Description

XP's open workspace borrows from the concept of the war room. Studies have shown that teams working tightly together in close proximity achieve much greater productivity than when they are apart in their own separate offices or cubicles. In XP, all members of the team, including the customer, sit in the open workspace.

The ideal XP programming environment is an open workspace filled with tables and room for pairs of people to work together and maintain contact with their peers.

The open workspace should foster an environment in which programmers can focus on their problems but still hear enough to jump in other conversations if they can help. It is an environment that emphasizes teamwork.

In many places in the world, businesses have "cubicle cultures." In the interests of privacy and enhanced concentration, programmers often spend most of their time in their own workspace that is separated from their peers. It acts as a little capsule of solitude that lets them work in "peace." While everyone needs quiet time and some privacy, the bulk of software development work is best done collaboratively.

When people go into their small workspaces, they are out of the flow and exchange of information that keeps a project vigorous.

In XP, team members should have some private space. They need a place where they can use a phone privately or browse email, but software development should be done in an open workspace.