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Thread: Agile programming (was Re: [P|C] Banksel)
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face BY : Nate Duehr email (remove spam text)




On Jan 29, 2009, at 12:18 AM, Vitaliy wrote:

> You say the Agile team was "sequestered", do you mean that before  
> you were
> all in the same room? That's actually what agilists recommend:  
> instead of
> every programmer having their own office, they should work as close  
> together
> as possible, preferably in a "bullpen" environment. The goal is to  
> reduce
> the cost of interaction.

There's at least one software business owner who wholeheartedly  
disagrees with the "bullpen" approach.  Have you read "Joel on  
Software"?

He posted this to his blog on January 13th as supporting evidence:

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2009/01/13.html

I'm in "tech support" and since about 1994 have worked in "bullpen"  
environments.  I've adapted, but I dislike them.

I'm not as productive listening to all the crap that's not my  
responsibility going on around me, so I've developed a very good  
ability to ignore everything.  Sometimes when co-workers walk up and  
just want to chat, they marvel at the fact that I don't even know (nor  
care) that they're behind me, even if they address me.   My DSP filter  
in my brain keeps them below consciousness level unless it senses that  
they are asking something work related.  It also perks me up if I hear  
similar bugs/problems to new ones I'm working coming from a nearby desk.

But otherwise, I'd rather have a closed door and quiet.  I'd be more  
productive.  I'm ALWAYS more productive when weather or other  
circumstances have me working from (a quiet) home.  (If my wife's  
home, my productivity goes in the toilet, unless I excuse myself and  
go to another room on another floor of the house.)

And back waaaay back when I worked for Texaco, I had one... a desk and  
a door that could be closed.  I miss that.  I was just a peon "college  
summer hire" and I had a real office.

Interestingly, I started noticing how often the modular furniture is  
re-arranged and talked a bit with the facilities people about how much  
that costs to bring in electricians, re-wire the data cabling, etc.    
Not long after, I read an article that debunked the myth that modular  
furniture is "cheaper", since managers always seem to want to re-
arrange it every year or so.  Drywall and doors and a floor plan that  
doesn't move, is actually cheaper in the long run.  I then talked  
about this with facilities and they agreed... no moves/changes would  
have saved our company tens of thousands a year...

Oh well.  Sometimes common sense isn't so common, I guess.

The last time we had to move the modular furniture, they made it  
taller -- now we regularly see people doing dangerous and stupid  
things to talk to co-workers on the other side.  I just dial their  
extension and if they don't answer, leave a message.

The most AWESOME piece of equipment I have is my wireless headset.  We  
all have them, they don't seem to ever interfere with one another,  
they cost over $300 a pop, and they're the best thing for a tech  
support team since sliced bread.  I will probably buy my own for work,  
if I ever leave the company, it's that useful.   Any tech support  
manager who balks when their staff asks for them because of the cost,  
should have their head examined.  I'd rather have a slower PC, or any  
number of other things taken away, before I would drop the cordless  
headset from GNI Netcom.

Nate
<5396FF8F-FCBC-4138-AC16-6BC06A17CE26@natetech.com> 7bit

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