"Fast, cheap, and good; pick any two" is a standard axiom of project management. Software development in innovative markets is one area where this no long holds true. Teams in this environment need to deliver on all three and these are some tips I've found make it possible.
Two column layouts on the web break down when one column is much longer than the other. Scroll far enough and some significant portion of the screen is empty.
One solution is to have each column independently scroll but multiple scroll bars can be very confusing for a user. A better solution is the one employed on Yahoo News where the shorter right panel is floating relative to the left but still scrolls with the primary browser scroll.
Open office plans get a lot of bad press. They are characterized as loud, overly-exposed, and distracting. Yet, for a small technology team, they are the best office layout.
Open offices don't have to look like an economy flight. Original photo
Headphones, big screens, furious typing and infrequent verbal communication characterize the working environment in small engineering teams. Regardless of official HR structure, individuals in engineering teams also operate as peers which makes the shared environment more socially comfortable. This also helps with privacy. Every listener can be viewed and spoken conversation does not result in mole heads appearing above cubicle walls.
I did something today that I haven't done in a long time: I wrote an automated unit test. I loathe writing unit tests, because despite the rhetoric, I have yet to experience a dramatic increase in either velocity or code quality. Unit testing, like a sub prime mortgage, promises great returns with minimal risk and costs. The reality is very different.