I'm in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to speak at the Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference. If you ever imagined what an "Agile" company looked like, I think I am looking at it right now. I'm blogging today from Atomic Object. The exterior of the 100 year-old building is very unassuming. Upon entering the building, I'm greeted by several dogs. Yes, like in man's-best-friend dogs. They give me the once-over and allowed me to pass. I walk past a wall with mountain bikes and walk upstairs to discover a truly Agile workspace.
The floors are a light wood and the workspace is wide open. There is plenty of natural light. In the middle of the room is a functioning stop light. It's exactly what I thought it was. It's an information radiator to indicate if the build is broken or not. Fortunately, the light is green. I'm now sipping on a freshly brewed cup of black coffee and enjoying web access. There are almost as many whiteboards as there are approachable friendly people.
I know you should not judge a book by its cover. But, if I'm looking for a book on Agile, I would have a few expectations. This place and the people working here exceed those expectations.
When I return to Washington DC tomorrow night, I'll take with me the first hand confirmation that Agile workspaces (and companies) are so much more inviting than those with cube farms or offices.