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I worked at JDSU full-time (More than 5 years)
I will give JDSU (now Viavi Solutions) credit for surviving multiple telecom shocks and treating their employees decently during downturns and other difficult market situations. And, it is still an okay place to work - with mostly flexible management, esp. with respect to working hours and being able to telecommute when necessary. Also, I've never had an issue being placed on dull projects. All the projects I've been involved with have been technically challenging and enjoyable. And, most of the people I have worked with have been a pleasure to be around.
Middle management has become detached from rank-and-file engineers who do the work that make products that customers want. Correction: management has their clique of favored engineers who are part of a power-base increasingly beyond challenge and criticism. In short, politics has infected R&D; and middle management is either oblivious to it; or a part of it. This favored clique is fixated on theories about how R&D should happen, to the point of micro-managing comments in software, obsessing over directory names and other details that, in the end, consume time but offer little in terms of market value/deliverables. Theories abound about technical debt, but nothing of substance is offered to measure it now or in the future. Which makes all of the efforts to "purge" code, perform code reviews, unit test, etc. of questionable value since there is no way to compare gains or losses from adopting "best practices" that allege to reduce technical debt. But, everyone is using the word "agile," and sticky notes abound on writable walls, so people all the way up the food chain are happy with the "progress" being made. Much time (and money) is being spent on consultants and material to instruct how poorly things have been done in the past and how, by adopting practice A, B and C, the future will be one of a gloriously efficient and maintainable R&D environment with corporate profitability to boot. Never mind the fact that software development is not science. Of course, it is technical in nature. And, sometimes there is room for real improvement; as opposed to “improvement” foisted on developers by appear-busy management. But, software is as much about art as it is about logic. Craftsmanship and experience do matter. Those who want to objectify it simply don't understand the field they seek to transform in their own idealistic view of "scientific" development. It remains to be seen whether the pragmatic developers of the company are able to crank out features to market (read: pay the bills) in spite of the shackles around their feet, bounded by the theorists and ideologues.
Advice to Management
Stop the politics and playing favorites; and get out of the way. Otherwise, you risk alienating worker-bees who are less interested in politics and advancement and more focused on (real) SOLID development and features with actual market value. Let academia and start-ups be Guinea pigs for the latest fads in “software improvement.” For the less patient, consider moving on to a company you consider to be an exemplar of software practices and excellence.