Offices vs. Cubes For Developers?
Check out the 1999 Edition of Peopleware
by DeMarco and Lister. They describe a controlled study
that digs deeper than the thin concept of `productivity' to uncover the creativity cost present in noisy situations. The bottom line is
that programmers can manage to get work done in
quiet environments (such as a small office) or in noisy environments, but creativity suffers in a noisy environment.
One theory is that the part of the brain that's
mostly involved in creativity and general insight is easily interrupted by outside noises, including music. They found the same results among people who like to work with music
and those who don't.
They further point out research that shows that
good programmers tend to have bigger offices.
It's not clear whether the better programmers get
jobs at better companies, or whether bigger offices tend to make programmers better.
But as Fred Brooks said about this study, ``Who
cares what the reason is!?'' Big Offices are obviously a good thing.