Every New Year, I come up with a New Year's resolution list, and it almost always includes getting in better shape by joining a gym. Unfortunately, I never seem to follow through on it. But how about getting fit at work by using an Agile Workstation?
Recently, Matt, a colleague of mine, setup a make shift standing work station. He stacked some books on top of some boxes to lift up his keyboard and mouse. He also placed his monitor higher up on a shelf. His argument was that this gives him better posture and reduces neck pain and is better for his overall health. Everyday he codes standing up for about 2 to 3 hours and then goes back to a more traditional seated coding position.
This reminded me of a presentation given by Doug Bradbury at Agile 2010 entitled “Walk and Code”. Doug presented data that showed that we sit significantly more and stand significantly less on our work days than on our leisure days. Another study showed that obese individuals were seated on average 2 hours longer per day than lean individuals. Yet another study showed that men and women had a 17% and 37% higher chance of death when sitting more than 6 hours per day as compared to those sitting less than 3 hours per day. When we factor in sitting and not exercising then the numbers jump to an alarming 48% and 95% respectively. So clearly we need to exercise during our work week. But does standing or walking count?
Doug next describes the research done by Dr. James Levine on non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) which is the calories people burn during everyday activities like walking, standing or even fidgeting. Dr. Levine is studying the effect of NEAT on energy expenditure and overall good health. Simply walking at a slow 1 mph can burn an extra 100 cal/hr. Dr. Levine came up with an adjustable treadmill desk where people can walk and work, stand, or sit. He believes this can help in both health and productivity as people stay motivated, alert and focused. However, this adjustable workstation cost $4000+.
So like Matt, Doug setup his own make shift treadmill/desk by buying a used treadmill from ebay and a desk from IKEA. After 22 weeks he had walked 240 miles (average of 11 mi/week) by just walking and coding!
So are you up for it? I found a treadmill desk add-on on amazon for $400. If this all sounds too extreme and expensive then try replacing your chair with an exercise ball or bicycle, or simply take the stairs instead of the elevators, park far from the office, and take a walk at lunch. Good Luck and Happy New Year!
To learn more about NEAT check out http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/levine_lab/about.cfm
To find out more on how Dough constructed his workstation, check out his blog http://blog.8thlight.com/articles/2010/2/25/walk-and-code
Here are links to studies referenced in Dough's presentation:
Monday, December 27, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
What’s on your wall board? Atlassian ran a competition for the ultimate wall board. Ole Højriis Kristensen from the Vodafone web team won the competition by integrating a physical Scrum board with Atlassian’s JIRA/Greenhopper issue tracking/PM tool.
Ole’s solution keeps the physical board in sync with their project management tool. He setup a printer below the scrum board. Whenever a new story is added to JIRA, a card is printed out with a reference to the JIRA ticket number. This receipt is then placed in a plastic card that has an RFID and a magnet and then the card is placed on the board.
Whenever a developer is ready to work on a story, the developer swipes the card and moves it to the next column. They also have avatar cards for each developer that they swipe to indicate who is assigned to the story. Any card movement on the board automatically updates the corresponding story in JIRA. A camera snaps a picture of the developer that is moving the card and it is attached as a comment to the JIRA issue indicating who modified the ticket. The board also kicks off the build/deploy process for stories that are ready for testing and sends out tweets to inform the team and QA. There is also a projector that continuously displays burn down charts and velocity from JIRA data.
Even when an issue is updated directly through JIRA, the board constantly reminds users (via voice prompts) to move the corresponding card to its correct position!
Additional awards were given to a couple of other boards. Check them out at http://ultimatewallboard.com/