A glimpse behind the scenes of what goes on at The Study Bar is long overdue. Our team-- Sharon Button (Founder and Owner), Jordan McGuiness (Visual & Online Media Director), and Wayne Sexton (Agile Coach & Editor)--colocates at our space in Creve Coeur five days a week. As agile is about “people over process,” we are constantly in communication about all aspects of the business--whether it be the décor, the development of our website, the progress on our Alexa skills, the content in our newsletter or anything else. We apply the concept of mob programming to nearly all of our tasks, displaying the work in progress on the big screen so everyone can have a say. The person operating the computer plugged into the monitor always learns something new, as do the rest of us.
A typical day looks like this: all of us arrive in the late morning or early afternoon overflowing with ideas and things we thought up since we were last at The Study Bar. Sharon takes her place on the loveseat and kicks back on the ottoman. Jordan posts up at the corner desk with its extra monitor and nearby Rothko print. And I set myself up at the table facing the wall, avoiding as many visual distractions as possible (to varying degrees of success). Each day almost naturally begins with a retrospective. How did the robotics event go? How did game night go? How did Study Sunday go?
Throughout the day, there’s a lot of stopping mid-conversation to get up and draw out ideas on the whiteboard. Someone is always interjecting a tidbit about current events which may or may not turn into a tangent. This frequently (through Sharon’s guidance) becomes a more focused line of thought about the business. How can we get in on the ground floor of this thing or that thing? How can we get ahead of the curve? Most importantly, how can we serve our clients best and deliver the most value? We’re fortunate that all three of us naturally ask ourselves these kinds of questions. It’s the answers we find that lead us to the larger goal of making the best product possible.
It’s common for us to get an eight-hour day’s worth of work done in four or five hours, a gift of colocation and actualizing our individual strengths. We constantly strive to maximize the amount of work not done and the phrase “MVP” (minimum valuable product) gets said too many times to count. When in doubt, Sharon and I reach for post-it notes and almost frantically scribble out ideas before putting them on our Kanban boards. I’m always reminded how much stuff is “nice to have” and how the most important things are simply what the people want.
TL;DR: we have a lot of fun.
Sharon’s favorite thing about working here is getting to see clients’ “aha” moments--the sense of accomplishment, relief or excitement when they realize all of the possibilities open to them.
Jordan’s favorite thing about working here is the open attitude about creativity and being an individual.
My favorite thing about working here is that The Study Bar is the first workplace I’ve never dreaded going into, not even once. I know that I can use my strengths and that I’m bringing about the change I believe in.