Where the magic happens: Our Dev Lab

Some if you wanted to see what our lab looks like so I found some pics and thought I would share them with you.  I took these pics late in the day and most of developers had left at this point.  They are camera shy.  :-)


Lab 009


And for those who want the layout.


We are very proud of our lab and have received several compliments. We are constantly looking for new an innovative ways on how to improve it. 

What do your work environments look like?

About Joe Ocampo

My personal philosophy is simple: "Have a good strategy that sets the environment for success through the enablement of the whole. Be agile but with a mind towards pragmatism. Delegate to the best qualified individuals, but don’t be afraid to involve yourself in all parts of a job. Treat everyone with respect, humility, and with a genuine pursuit towards excellence." Respected business and technical leader with expertise in directing organization towards effective results driven outcomes. Proven ability to perform and communicate from both technical and business perspectives. Strong technical and business acumen developed through experience, education and training. Provides the ability to utilize technology, harness business intelligence and execute strategically by optimizing systems, tools and process. Passionate about building people, companies and software by containing cost, maximizing operational throughput and capitalize on revenue. Looks to leverage the strengths of individuals and grow the organization to their maximum potential by harnessing the power of their collective whole and deliver results. Co-Founder of LosTechies.com
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13 Responses to Where the magic happens: Our Dev Lab

  1. Chad Myers says:

    I *bet* a lot happens on your dev ‘lap’… what kind of shop are you guys running there, anyhow!

  2. Joe Ocampo says:

    Its a combination of Scrum, XP and Crystal with a dash of Agile Model Driven Development.

    We are Agile’s Heinz 57 sauce. :-)

  3. Joe Ocampo says:

    Woops!!! I just caught the “Lap” typo! Yikes! Hopefully it hasn’t propagated too far! Dam the internet!

  4. Tom Adams says:

    Hey Joe, Are you guys pairing on those stations? If so, we’ve found it *much* better to have a keyboard and mouse per person (so two of each). This way there is no notion of “driver” or “navigator” in the traditional XP sense, both people are. The changeover becomes much more dynamic, and it makes it easy to mix up pairing styles, so you can have the traditional driver/navigator, or use ping-pong paring (one writes spec, one writes code), or a combination (what I currently prefer).

    Your setup looks pretty good, some suggestions though :) If you can get rid of those people around the corner, that’d greatly improve the communication between the team. Unless of course, they are breakout desks, in which case you want some degree of privacy.

    Another thing to consider is rather than having the desks facing away from each other, you face them inwards (possible too hard with you wall with a desk partitions). I don’t personally like this too much, but other teams I know love it. They talk of “osmotic communication”, where having the desks facing inward decreases the communication barriers. If you are all facing away from each other it becomes harder to pick up on conversations that may be important to you or another pair.


  5. Joe Ocampo says:

    @ Tom
    Thanks for the feedback.

    I never thought of having two keyboards and two mice at one workstation. I will have to try that out and see how it goes, it sounds intriguing though.

    You idea of moving the workstations inward is something we wanted to try but Facility Management would not allow it. Of course I did approach them after a year of having it this way which is why they probably said no!

    At the same time I love being able to walk into the lab and pan my eyes around the room to see what people are working on. I know I know… My managerial aspect shouldn’t be a reason to keep it this way but I do like it. :-)

  6. Tom Adams says:


    The two keyboards thing is definitely a winner in my book, I wouldn’t go back to a single keyboard.

    I once heard someone say that “furniture police are the natural enemy of agile”, which is pretty apt in your case!

    I’ve had this as well, I once worked in a room of 12 developers affectionately called the “fishbowl”. It was about 3 x 7 metres with a glass partition that overlooked the rest of the team (QA, customer, architects, PM, etc.). We found that even though we could see everyone, the communication overhead was enormous. We tried to have the glass removed, but the facilities had just spent $20K fitting it. We ended up just moving.

    My suggestion in your case would be just to move the furniture without asking without breaking anything. Those “desks” look like they can be removed from the wall, why not remove them, and ship in some straight edged desks. Most offices have some of these lying around, or places like IKEA do nice long desks. You can usually find a home for bits of partition so that they’re out of the way and not a fire hazard.

    You then get a nice space, without the need for official “sanctioning”.

  7. Troy Gould says:

    This is my second favorite layout because it still has that open space feel. I think the best is when everyone is around one large table, or many pushed together to make one large table. The biggest difference is that everyone is looking at each other rather than their backs to each other. It makes it super easy for someone to stand up and just start a discussion with the entire team.

  8. Joe Ocampo says:

    If we ever move building I am definitely going to setup the room in the configuration you mentioned. I am just hope the ascetics police don’t get in the way!

  9. mike says:

    I like the idea but I’ve never actually implemented this type of a team room. Do you have any developers that complain about the lack of private space? What happens if they need to talk to their wife? :) Or put up pictures of the kids? Do they have space for that?

  10. Yeah, where do developers get to have private time, with sites like TMZ, etc. ?)

  11. Joe Ocampo says:


    We have cubes for them that measure about 4 x 6 with a phone and an outdated computer that has limited internet access but they can answer their corporate emails. :-)

    They have pictures of their kids and bobble heads as well. :-)

    @Chris, Hence the proxied internet access.

    Please don’t leave comments about developers need unlimited access for research and yada yada…this is above my head and I don’t have any control over this.

  12. No, I get the proxy. I just meant that office workers seem to have this attachment to “property” for some reason versus just having a place to sit.

    Are your “phone booths” (the 4×6 boxes you mentioned) assigned or just use any available space as needed for private conversations, blog reading, etc? We used to have spaces like this at an office I setup in the startup IPO days, and I think most liked that we didn’t have to hear the guy next to us talking all smoochy with his wife while we worked.

  13. Joe Ocampo says:

    No they are actually assigned spaces. We do have issues we hire contractors though…I give them a whole drawer…LOL