These kinds of things proceed in phases.
Phase 1: every developer has an office with a door.
Phase 2: every developer is in a cube.
Phase 3: every developer sits in one giant communal area. The dreaded open-office floor plan.
Phase 4: every developer telecommutes to work.
Phase 5: every developer has an office with a door.
Both Phase 2 and Phase 3 cause developers to utilize The Headphone Coping Mechanism.
First developed in Hamburg, Germany in the 1950s, the Headphone Coping Mechanism spread like wildfire as companies converted into the nuveau open-office floor plan. The open-office floor plan, coincidentally and likely completely unrelated, also first developed in Hamburg, Germany in the 1950s.
At first glance, there may appear to be absolutely no advantage to Phase 3. But with the advent of agile, it is a benefit for a co-located development team working on a single feature at a time as a team employing some agile-based methodology such as Scrum can reap a significant boon by have the team (and only that team) have a "pod" arrangement where there is an open-office floor plan communal area in conjunction with cubes or offices.
Alas, many companies have seen the square footage per employee benefits of an open-office floor plan, without understanding that the people in that communal area still need offices (or at least cubes), and they all must be comprised of members of the same team.
As ostensibly a cost saving measure, "penny wise pound foolish" facilities takes the initiative to save money by stacking developers like cordwood into a communal area. Regardless of project or role. This is classic cargo cult behavior, with lip-service to attaining the ultra-super-high-performance unicorn team, but in reality making the environment a soul sucking slave cesspool of sorrow. And headphones.
The best devices for The Headphone Coping Mechanism are undeniably Sennheiser. Sennheiser, coincidentally also a German company, had worked in secret on the ultimate headphones from 1945 to 1968, for one thing and one thing only: to create a unparalleled compensation device to stave off the incessant productivity killing and company destroying distraction known as the open-office floor plan.
Note: the open-office floor plan was registered as a weapon of mass destruction, and banned by the Geneva Convention. First employed by the creators to cause competitors to adopt it and die. The inventing company itself, in a twist of ill-fated irony, became a victim of its own creation. Since then, the open-office floor plan has swept across the globe leaving a wake of destruction in its path. There is no known cure, only through providence can a company weather the open-office floor plan storm.
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