Quite a lot of this is part of what SCRUM should offer your dev team.
You are aware of 6 (did we build the right thing) much sooner since you work in small iterations
8 (progress at team and management level) since the whiteboard and tasks are always visible to the whole company, you also do a demo at the end of your sprint.
10 (feature or layer) You always build by user story which I class as a feature.
11 (sit in the same place) it's almost a must in SCRUM that you are co-located although technology allows distributed working (skype etc.)
1 & 3 (bottlenecks and blocks) is one of the things you ask in your daily standup and is part of the SCRUM masters job to clear blocks and facilitate the teams ability to get on.
If the team leader is any good then 2 (will my devs be better) should be a definite "yes"
Continuous integration will help with 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8.
7) when do we find out our code\design sucks? how can we make that earlier?
Are we able to admit/realize that our design sucks? If not, is this a function of our skill or personalities?
> #11 can we make all our team sit in the same place?
Please don't ask that! I just escaped a spirit-dampening cubicle farm, and back into an office with a window. My job satisfaction is much improved because of it.
Keith, can you sincerely say it improved the communication you have with the rest of your team? Can you say it did not take negative impact due to that?
A joint workspace doesn't have to be a bland, uniform cubical farm. I came from such a farm and where I work now (even though at first look much humbler) is a much more humane environment, just inviting open communications.
just my 2c
Communication != Productivity
To place communication as a first order problem to be solved is a mistake, I think. What is more important is to manage and reduce interruptions while coding/designing/thinking. There should be a barrier (easily surmounted, but a barrier nonetheless) between engineers and the people who want answers from them. Open spaces are the worst for this as interrupting one engineer easily turns into interrupting all of them.