Rusty Divine

Live, Love, Learn, Teach

Our Team Palace

"You're not going to believe it," the project manager quipped in his cagey style as he lead my development team from our cubicles to our first meeting in the team room reserved for our latest project.

After a brief pause where I attempted to evaluate whether I should expect to be pleasantly surprised or morosely let down, I guessed the former, "I bet it's like the Taj Mahal." After which Robert's only reply was a chuckle, preferring to keep his game going instead of acquiescing to my correct assertion.

The four of us boarded the elevator on the fifth floor and went down to the third floor. Our company occupies all of the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors (the top floor of the building), which are all well connected by stairs. The third floor, of which we occupy only half, can only be reached by the elevator. People on the third floor complain they feel cut off from the rest of the company; I don't think they even have a fridge or a microwave down there. Not a great sign to start off this project.

I work at a consulting company, and yes, Joel, we make millions selling consultingware, although it is largely due to our very well established name brand - I wouldn't recommend it for a start up that wasn't well connected already.

The previous week, I met with my Group Leader about some new cubicles that were slated for a currently unused space on the other side of a wall behind my cubicle. "I have a break-neck project starting next week. We have six weeks to finish the website, and there will be no time to design it upfront. We're going to need to be in constant communication, and even though Ryan (another developer) sits next to me, we won't be able to cooperate well with the cubicle wall separating us. What do you think about setting up three desks in this area without putting up any partitions so that we can use this space for the project?"

Our Group Leader considered the pros and cons, "I'm not sure what we can do since the cubicles are already ordered. I'll have to speak with Laurie," she decided, in typical corporate fashion, to say no by passing the buck to some possibly imaginary administrative broker.

Never one to give up easily, I visited the project manager to plead my case. Robert was fairly new to the company so I hoped he wasn't aware that giving developers their own space had never been done here, and he was older so I thought he should have some more seniority to leverage. To his credit, he took my request seriously; he did have a large stake in the project, too, after all, and the next thing I knew he was leading the team down to our project team room that he got reserved for the next three weeks. (OK, it wasn't for all six weeks, but it was a start; how's that for getting things done for a grunt?)

Continued next week...

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