Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On Moving, Part 3


We've been working toward this move in parallel with our next major treemo.com release. The two coincide so closely that today, on our second day in the building, we're shipping our Biggest Release Ever.

One of the key considerations when performing such a trick is to keep productivity up while adjusting to a new space. The best way to do that is to make sure that when you arrive, everything is ready to go. That we managed this is remarkable, and I'm still kind of taken aback. When I arrived on Monday there was little to do except set up my workstation, plug in, and get to work. We had our first meeting in the new conference room to plan the release, and got to doing it. Today, we had lunch delivered and camped out smashing bugs. I got some delicious cider from my sister, who works in a coffeeshop on the first floor.

We are so spoiled. :)

Monday, December 17, 2007

On Moving, Part 2


Here are some things we did that worked when leaving our space in Ballard:
  • Sent contingents from each team to the candidate office spaces
  • Put our office manager really in charge of the moving details and scheduling
  • Had everyone fill out the office map in the way they felt best and combined them to create the final layout
  • Allowed our IT team to spend plenty of time readying the infrastructure move
  • Hired a mover (we didn't do that the first time...)
  • Bought everybody FlexPasses to compensate for the loss of parking

Mercifully, I was insulated from most of the thousands of decisions and jobs to be done when moving 10 people's workspace. All I had to do was pack up my things and unplug my workstation. It seems like that's exactly right for what I need to do for my job. And after so much time here having to worry about everything, it was a nice change.
I'm certain that others in the company were frantically busy trying to get everything moved, and obviously they did a wonderful job. I love it when a plan comes together.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

On Moving, Part 1


The space in which you work completely defines the parameters of your activity there. It outranks even your CEO by placing hard physical boundaries around what types of work can and cannot be done. Work which requires quiet cannot be done in an environment full of noise. Work which requires collaboration cannot be done in a small room. Work which requires creativity will suffer in a dreary environment, and thrive in a beautiful one.

On Monday we will have the opportunity to discover what kind of work we can do in a large, window-rich, cosmopolitan downtown office space. Downtown! The lights! The glamor! New restaurants! Bus passes!

At every stage in our growth we have bristled against too-small office space that failed to meet our needs. Not enough privacy, not enough rooms, not enough wiring, not enough light, something. I want to code, and someone's one cube over arguing about a feature. I need to have a conference call, but have no door. I need to pee, but there's only one bathroom for 12 of us. I want to see if it's raining, but I have to hit F12 because the window is down the hall. I want to sketch a brilliant design, but the wall's too small for a decent whiteboard. I want to work 8 hours and wonder where the time went, but the overhead lighting gives me a headache before noon, and this desk is too small to put my coat, notepad, and lunch on it all at the same time. I wonder if Google would give me a bigger desk?

Obviously when you're a startup, even a funded one, you can't afford Building 99. But you do have to strike a balance, because every millisecond I spend thinking one of the above thoughts, I'm not writing great code.

But! Downtown! Here's some of the things our new space enables us to do:
  • Allow our receptionist to greet visitors immediately at a striking entry desk
  • Hold a meeting in a real conference room
  • Enjoy our view of Westlake plaza from any point within the office
  • Retire to a secluded space to be left undisturbed when necessary
  • Write on the half-glass walls with whiteboard pens
  • Put huge desks in the offices
  • Work from home over a real VPN
  • Step out the elevator doors to the middle of downtown, anytime we want
All of which are things that enable us to spend less time thinking about the stuff we can't do, and more time doing what we want to do - making great software.

Tomorrow, Part 2: Moving Day