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Restrooms, Canoes, and Agile Metaphors

Mike Cottmeyer Chief Executive Officer
Reading: Restrooms, Canoes, and Agile Metaphors

I came back to my desk yesterday and it was gone. Yep… just empty floorspace where my desk used to be. As you might imagine, VersionOne has a pretty mobile floorplan. Wireless internet and lots of power everywhere. The environment is pretty conducive to moving furniture around so people that need to work together can easily relocate.

After finding my desk missing, I went looking for it. I walked around upstairs, no desk. I walked around downstairs, no desk. I looked outside and then started exploring conference rooms… no desk. Hmmmmmmm. Where might my desk have gone? Well, it seems the dev team decided to play a little trick on me. They moved my desk into the ladies restroom. Nice.

To add insult to injury, they took pictures and posted them to the company blog. Check out for pictures and commentary. I have to admit that it was pretty funny having full power and internet access, all my books and even my lamp all crammed into a bathroom. Imagine the productivity gains not having to step away when nature calls. The possibilities could be endless.

It was a nice reminder that work does not have to be serious all the time and you have to be able to laugh at yourself. Now I have to figure out how to get ’em back! Paybacks can be hell.

On another not-so-serious note… I got a canoe a few weeks back. I really like my canoe. Even better, I like that I got a really, really good deal on a used one I found from a seller nearby my house. I had the opportunity to take my kids out a couple of times last weekend and we managed not to flip it over in the lake. We have some family coming up from Florida this weekend and I think we’ll take it out again. Hopefully we’ll have similar luck.

Activities like canoeing are great agile metaphors. It is all about heading out in a particular direction, course correcting along the way, paying attention to your environment, and adapting as you go. You have to communicate with your partner to get the canoe going in the right direction and to establish a stable velocity. You need to collectively maintain balance so you don’t tip over. Sounds like a good blog for another day.

Life is good! Thanks for listening :-)

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