Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Musical Office

I frequently work with teams that like to listen to music while developing. I hate headphones. I find they are worse than putting each developer in their own office for team communication. Better to have some music you all agree upon listening to and have an Office Jukebox.

Currently we are using WinAmp with WinAmp Web Interface. This allows anyone on the team to change track, change volume, etc.


Glen McGregor said...

I hate having music playing audibly.
1. It's almost impossible to have a playlist that everyone agrees with.
2. You can't crank up the songs you love.
3. It's distracting having sound you dislike in the background.

I sometimes wear headphones just to shut out the sound around me. Even without any music playing, they help prevent me being distracted by the sounds of the office.

Nigel Thorne said...


It is impossible to come up with a play list the everone loves (unless you all have the same tastes: which seems to be the status quo here. [sic])

I would suggest though that it is possible to come up with a list in most teams that everyone doesn't hate.

You are right, you can't crank up the songs you love, but really the music shouldn't be that distracting anyway.

We are surrounded by sounds we don't like (the humming of my computer, the air conditioning, traffic). A song you are not keen on being played for 3 mins shouldn't be too hard to bare.

Hey I'm not suggesting this will work for every company. I like the idea of a team jukebox.

It worked at my last company aswell.
It does rely on everyone having a mature attitude and being conciderate.

Some people like having the air conditioning on full blast, others love having the heating up high. You don't get many days where people are fighting over the thermostat.

Glen McGregor said...

I know what you're saying.

I guess I'd recommend sitting everyone down and having a discussion and getting honest feedback from everybody. Because it can be an issue and it'd be good to have a forum where people can feel like they've been heard.

I know I'd appreciate something like that.

Nigel Thorne said...

I was discussing this at work at some point. The person I was talking with felt that music could be disturbing to some people so it is not a good idea.

I felt that if the 'quite preferring people' were unable to express their preference to the team, then this is a symptom of a much bigger issue; namely that the team are not able to openly communicate. Just think of all the opinions and feedback that these people are not sharing!

XP attempts to address this through regular 'retrospectives'.

Anonymous said...

High Nigel,

An interesting thread on something i have been thinking about. I'm in the headphones camp. In my current workplace (ManageSoft) i have found that having desks that face towards each other mitigates the osmotic communications loss.

Also, the people at ManageSoft are very collaborative. Nobody wears headphones all the time and interruptions are welcomed. Given the desks facing each other and this collaborative style nobody feels unable to interrupt somebody wearing headphones.

While beleive osmotic communications is very important i also believe that many of us sometimes need quiet time for concentration ... it is balance thing.

BTW (perhaps another topic) ... is XP confused for "Agile"? I find in Melbourne "XP" is often used to mean "Agile" ... yea just something that bothers me :-(

See ya

Robert Smyth

Anonymous said...

If you like music, try http://www.pandora.com it will automatically create a playlist for the group based on artists the group likes.

Peace 'n Fish Grease,
Cleavon J. Blair

GitHub Projects