“It’s inspiring to see, when you let your employees design their own space, what they come up with." - Umberto Milletti, CEO | InsideView
Thank God it's Monday
When InsideView’s Hyderabad team grew to 105 people, it was clear that we’d outgrown our office space. What happened next wasn’t terribly ordinary for a company of our size. We never called an interior designer and our reliance on architectural proposals faded into the background. We collaborated from the bottom up.
Inspiring a Culture of Innovation
Our first order of business was to answer a seemingly daunting question: “How can we create a fresh workspace that inspires a culture of innovation, even on a Monday?” We recognized that nurturing an innovative, productive environment required letting go of the conventional approaches to office design that we had become familiar with over the course of our careers.
That meant we needed to clear our minds of any pre-conceived structural notions. We started with an empty space and eliminated the dropped-ceiling.
At first glance, the theme of innovation appeared abstract and difficult to personify in a work space. Afterall, we’re not interior designers. So, we began simply. We looked toward the most prominent innovative implementation that resonated with our team: Agile development.
Detailing the Design Process
Scrummification \skruhm-i-fi-key-shuh n\ noun
: the process of making or building a reactive physical space that accommodates change fluidly.
Beneath innovation, two major themes emerged as we hammered out the vision of our new office: "Scrummification" (we like to think we are the first to coin this term) and Inspiration. Sesha Rao, our director of operations in India, explained the process in terms of these driving concepts.
Scrummification: Our goal was to align our new facility to the Agile and Scrum development processes that we’d adopted. To our team, Scrummification means:
Everyone can see everyone else
Working away from assigned desks is encouraged
Whiteboard space is readily available
Impromptu meeting spaces, lounges, and open areas are everywhere
Inspiration: Next, we needed to inspire our engineers to be fully productive in our newly Scrummified facility. We found that Inspiration means several things to our team:
A modern/industrial feel with high ceilings and glass partitions allowing for plenty of natural light
Full writing walls instead of traditional whiteboards
Themed conference rooms, exciting color schemes, and couches or sitting cubes instead of basic tables and chairs
Entertainment areas with space for games and recreation
A wall of fame, customer accolades, culture pillars, culture branding, and depictions global office integration and teamwork
Over a period of a few months, these two ideas fed into the final design and led us to a creative configuration of the space. We gave inspiration, collaboration, ideation and excitement a boost by employing various “experience zones” throughout the office. And, by the close of the project, innovation lived within our walls.
Read about the themes and specific design elements of our Hyderabad office below, and stay tuned to hear how the scrum teams are using and enjoying the new space.
Speaking to the team’s youthful spirit, office walls are painted vibrantly and adorned with elements of modern art, mirroring a creative coffee shop vibe. Functionality inspired each office element - for example, removing the dropped ceiling not only gave the space a modern industrial look, but also brought in natural light. Bookshelves in the shape of the company logo serve as seating for three people. A colorful word cloud on wallpaper showcases technical jargon regularly heard in the office.
The walls contain 4-ft tall writing spaces for scrum teams to write and draw out concepts wherever they land. Increased availability for writing space not only reduces the need to constantly erase ideas, but also narrows the delay between generating and recording ideas. Sprint islands also contain whiteboards to record important metrics.
The layout provides a mostly unobstructed view of the rest of the office from any seat in the house. Cubicle workstations (with low or no partitions) are customized as circular pods. Each pod, called a “sprint bay,” is accompanied by a “sprint island.” Exactly as it sounds, the bay houses assigned desks, while the island is an adjacent open space where scrum teams can execute impromptu meetings. The sprint bay is set up to encourage team members to roll chairs around the bay.
Various seating configurations accommodate any mood: hanging chairs (featuring grass rugs beneath) for solitude, a pantry for watercooler conversations, multiple lounges for collaborative sessions, and a library for quieter sessions. Small meeting rooms and larger conference rooms in various themes are available for more private deliberations.
Has your team created a cool workspace? Share your experience!