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Bionic office samples

Does anyone know other samples of offices (other then the  "bionic office") that people DO like?
We've recently moved and it looks like the software developers tables are going to be set up  in the classrom-like style....It doesn't look like the best way for me.

Lev Kurts
Friday, November 28, 2003

Check out
http://domino.watson.ibm.com/tchjr/journalindex.nsf/0/fb3c49ab2d463e1c85256bfa00685aec?OpenDocument

Joel Spolsky
Friday, November 28, 2003

No, that's not the best way.  With some effort they could probably come up with something even worse, though.

Many companies have a "careers" page on their web site.  Most of them try to tell you how wonderful it is to work for them, but few tell you anything significant like what their work space is like.  There are a few that do.

One that does show something is the Mathworks.  Go to their web page at  http://www.mathworks.com/jobs/inside.jsp then select  "Take a virtual tour of the building".  I think one of them shows examples of offices that developers work in.  Not the best I have seen, but still quite nice looking.  It is hard to tell without being there.  I applied for a job via their web site, but got ignored.

Another company that showed their work space on their web site was Geneer.  They had movie clips showing you around the office area and noted that everyone, even the interns, got a private office. Unfortunately, the company failed when the bubble burst.

For several years I worked for a company that had good office space.  Everyone who worked at the company office had a private office with a door and, usually, a window.  Sometimes developers were assigned to work at a customer site and got the usual cubicle or whatever the customer had.

The office space I worked in was quite simple: four sheetrock walls, a ceiling, inexpensive office carpet on the floor, a door and a window.  Just as important as the physical layout: the HVAC was not terribly noisy and developers usually worked rather quietly.  Unfortunately, it didn't last.

This company was well run and made a profit almost every year of its existance.  Even though the founders had good ideas about how to run a software development company they were not in it for the long run. When the dot-com bubble started to grow they sold out.  After that growth became the goal and the work environment, in all aspects, deteriorated.

mackinac
Friday, November 28, 2003

Joel, thank you for posting the link to the Santa Teresa article.  I keep a few copies of that article in my files to pass out to anyone that might be interested.  One of the projects on my RSN list was to scan the article and try to get permission from IBM to publish it on the web.  Now I don't have to. 

mackinac
Friday, November 28, 2003

That IBM site has good stuff.

http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj/231/ibmsj2301E.pdf

...has the first study done (1984) that unexpectedly showed that:

"A new finding is that individual group project offices lead to greater efficiency than large open rooms."

Dennis Atkins
Friday, November 28, 2003

Here is an article about SAS.  Note: "Everyone with a desk job ... gets a private office", and "Annual turnover at SAS is a paltry 4 percent":  http://www.rgj.com/news/stories/business/963800668.php

mackinac
Saturday, November 29, 2003

Thanks for that one macinac, I remember reading that article and had forgotten where it was. In particular I remember the amazing study that it references:

> Companies attuned to the wishes of today’s demanding employees do seem to enjoy a clear bottom-line edge over their rivals. A survey last year by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a consulting firm based in Bethesda, Md., graded 405 publicly traded companies on such employee-centered characteristics as flexible hours, good training, and collegial interpersonal relations. The companies with the most such practices had an average total five-year return to shareholders of 103 percent; those with the fewest such practices had an average total return of 53 percent.

...which is a great result to show to those managers who insist that screwing over the developers is necessary to shore up the bottom line and be of maximum benefit to the shareholders.

The truth (unfortunate truth to the corpo-bullies) is "What's good for the IP workers, is good for the shareholders." Not just a 'truth', but a measurable, demonstratable FACT.

Humanist
Saturday, November 29, 2003

Thank you for interesting examples. By the way, if anyone is interested, I've found the following site:
http://www.xp123.com/xplor/room-gallery/index.shtml   
which contains some pictures of different XP teams.

Lev Kurts
Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Those XP offices look kind of scary.  I'd hate to think that that is the future of software development.  Maybe it is not like working in a factory, but it looks like a close approximation.  It is amazing that they can get any work done at all in those crowded conditions.  Avoiding those working conditions used to be a good incentive for getting a college education.

Let me try to post the link.  There is a trailing non-printing character in the above posting:  http://www.xp123.com/xplor/room-gallery/index.shtml

mackinac
Tuesday, December 02, 2003

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