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CHIEF agency war room

So much of a project’s success hinges on good communication, but in a busy workplace it can be hard to keep all team members looped into everything that’s going on.

Enter the war room. War rooms are centralized and purpose-built project meeting spaces that provide a dedicated location for teams to collaborate and visually communicate on activities associated with the execution of a project. At CHIEF, typically a project team will turn one of our huddle spaces—designed for quick ad hoc brainstorms—into a war room for a set period of time until project completion.

It may seem like a lot of effort, but savvy project managers know that collocating a team in a shared space can drastically boost productivity. Why’s that? Because war rooms (like scrum meetings) make it easy to communicate.

What about when team members split their time between several projects? It can be tricky, but war rooms still work wonders in these situations. Get our tips for maximizing war room productivity:

Choose a comfortable space to set up shop. Find a permanent home for you project, a place with enough room for the team to work. Ideally, your space will have a whiteboard or wall where you can leave project notes or stickies.

Set up a regular time to meet in your dedicated space. Use your space for your internal meetings. Block off work time on your team’s calendars for meeting together in the war room.

Encourage the team to use the room as much as possible. In the real world, a team member will often have other commitments and can’t move into a war room full time. But urge your team to use the shared space whenever possible. Quietly working together prompts great conversations about the project.

Set ground rules. Make sure the team knows that the war room isn’t meant for private meetings. Any conversations happening there are open to the whole project team. And try to keep noise levels down to encourage the team to use the room as an alternative to their desks.   

Be flexible. Encourage the war room, but don’t force it. A happy project team is most important. Listen to the team and make adjustments to your space as needed.

Whether they’re called war rooms, situation rooms, command centers or mission control rooms, the success of this type of collaborative problem-solving space has spanned industries and generations. Do you have experience working in a war room? Tell us about it in the comments below.