Effective teamwork requires a working environment conducive to collaboration. A good team can be productive in mediocre facilities, but they’ll be excellent with good facilities. This is especially true for pair programming and constant communication. Your workspace either helps or hinders cooperation.
XP recommends working in a single, wide-open room called the bullpen or war room. You need plenty of open space, tables and chairs, several whiteboards, and lots of bulletin boards, sticky notes, and index cards. Each computer must have space for two developers to sit side-by-side without bumping elbows. Small cubbies or offices are nice for personal phone calls and quiet individual work such as reading email, but the bulk of development happens in the bullpen.
Though the bullpen will buzz with activity, it should be isolated from outside noise. If possible, isolate yourselves from loud phones and heavy machinery. Pairs should be able to hear each other and other pairs. Overheard conversations often become informal brainstorming sessions, where everyone has the chance to share a bit of expertise. This may seem chaotic, but it can improve your productivity. It’s easier to ask the customer a question if you can just turn around. Finding a pair programming partner takes just a few moments.
Paired developers must be able to sit next to each other, so they can switch frequently and easily between driving and navigating. It’s difficult to sit together if the computer ...