[Space and Place] Spatial Organization in Video game companies

A paper about communication and office organization in video game companies. Very informative.

If you only have one person per office, it's easy for them to concentrate, but not likely that they will communicate. If you have too many people per office, a lot of communication will happen, but no actual work. Tom DeMarco talks about the importance of "flow" in Peopleware (...) Here's our rule of thumb on Team Spidey, the group working on Spider-Man: programmers are two to an office, artists are two-three, designers are three-four. Producers get cubicles in the hallways. Some exceptions are made for expediency. Small offices for the coders (since only two share), big offices for the designers (since there are probably four of them). (...) When you move everybody around, it means people come in contact with new people. You can make a graph of who communicates with whom on your project--every person is a node, and you draw links between the ones who communicate. When you reorganize, this graph will tend to change. New links will form between the nodes, and the old links may weaken but won't go away completely. The amount of communication on the team will go up. (...) There's another kind of lead, frequently without title, who leads simply by being a "hub" or "go-to guy"--the person everybody asks for help. On your office floorplan, it's good to drop these leads right in the middle of things, surrounded by the people who will need their help. Also, this way, they can keep abreast of important decisions that people are making on the fly.(...)Peter Akemann, our founder and CTO, does: have the prestigious corner office, and set up a workstation in the hallway right in the middle of everything, and spend most of your time there, in the trenches.