The Seilevel World Headquarters in Austin has workstations scattered throughout about 10 different offices (rooms, not separate locations) and about 7 conference rooms with marker boards, large tables, conference phones, and projectors. We are a consulting firm; so we aren’t all always in our office. Those of us who travel to client sites don’t have “permanent” desks in specific offices. We just grab workstations and dock our laptops in whichever of our favorite desks are available when we are in house.
Recently, I worked on a project that required a lot of creative collaboration from the project team. Not only did we need to brainstorm and get creative together, but we also wanted input and ideas from our other SeiPeeps as well. The project we were working on was for a client in another state; so, needless to say, we also had a plethora of conference calls every week. We decided to take over one of smaller conference rooms and call it “The Situation Room.” The project was scheduled to be a relatively quick engagement; so we booked the conference room for a few weeks, wall-papered the walls with giant post-it notes, and put a sign on the door.
We brainstormed ideas for all of our deliverables, concepts, assessments, ideas, etc. on those giant post-it notes by writing on smaller sticky-notes and throwing them up in the respective spot on the wall. We drafted our models on sticky-notes and threw them up there too. Once we had agreed on a solid draft of a model or concept, we snapped pictures or sat in the room with a laptop and converted our sticky-notes to Visio, Excel, PowerPoint, or whatever applicable computer program was being used.
When we needed to review a presentation before sending it to the client or get some help on a concept we were stalled on, we called the team into The Situation Room and worked together. Since our offices contain multiple workstations, just walking into someone’s office to chit-chat about project work for 30-60 minutes isn’t always feasible with someone else trying to work on a different project in the same space. Having our own project room gave us a place to collaborate without disturbing anyone else. Our coworkers could stop by The Situation Room and contribute ideas that needed help with or see what was going on with our project. It gave us a space to fill with all of our creative concepts and ideas while we filtered through everything looking for the right solution for our project. It also served as a fun team-building environment, which helped bring together a group of very different personalities to think together and create successful project deliverables.
Using wall-space and sticky-notes is part of the Seilevel methodology, but transforming a conference room into a project room was brand new here – and it was a big hit. I highly recommend creating your own Situation Room if you need a creative space for collaboration or to launch the envisioning or planning phases of your next project!