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Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams Paperback – Dec 1 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Dorset House Publishing Company, Incorporated; 2nd Revised edition edition (December 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932633439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932633439
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #162,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Heusser on June 18 2004
Format: Paperback
In his 25th Anniversary Edition of "Mythical Man-Month", Fred Brooks points to PeopleWare as the influential IS book of the 1980's, and says that it was influential for the same reason MMM was: The primary challenges of software development are social, not technical. Companies that forget this are setting themselves up for failure.
If you've seen dilbert style software "management" and want to find a better way, I can't recommend this book more strongly. If you read it, you'll want to find a way to get your superiors to read it as well.
In my experience, a great deal of so-called "management" is really shoft-term optimization: "IF we can eliminate X benefit we can save $Y per year!" and cost control. DeMarco and Lister point out that the real goal is productivity, and suggest numerous ways to treat employees as people to get increased productivity, as opposed to treating them as inhuman "Resources" and managing by spreadsheet.
One story from the book: In my early years as a developer, I was privileged to work on a project managed by Sharon Weinberg, now president of the Codd and Date Consulting Group. She was a walking example of much of what I now think of as enlightened management. One snowy day, I dragged msyelf out of a sickbed to pull together our shaky system for a user demo. Sharon came in and found me propped up at a console. She disappeared and came back a few minutes later with a container of soup. After she'd poured it into me and buoued up my spirits, I asked her hwo she found time to for such things with all the management work she had to do. She game me her patented grin and said "Tim, this _IS_ management!
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Format: Paperback
This book is well worth reading for both low level employees and managers. Although directed at the software development community, the book presents many ideas which would be useful in a wide range of companies.
It's amazing how many of the situations described in this book are familiar, or are at least situations that I could easily imagine occurring in the office work environment.
Yes, the book was written quite a while ago, but I think it's still very relevant today. Highly recommended reading, and enjoyable too. The authors really have a sense of humor.
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Format: Paperback
This is a good book on software management; however, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The references to the intercom paging system definitely date the book. I doubt this is really an issue anymore, but I am glad that it is not. Also, most companies are not going to allow the control over office space that is recommended in the book. This is where the book goes a little "pie in the sky" to me.
There is still a lot of good material for managers to consider. The authors make a very good point in the "true story" about the manager that brought soup in to an ill employee who was trying to meet a deadline. Management's job is to make it possible for people to work - not just to make them work.
I also found the information on teamwork to be very true based on my experience. I've seen defensive management at its worst, and how it was terrible to the team environment. Defensive management is a result of not following one of the earlier concepts of hiring the right people. Ultimately if you don't trust people to get the job done, why did you hire them in the first place?
Most of the information is not new nor is it really profound. However, that is the kind of thing that is usually taken for granted. The authors have given the material a good treatment and encourge the readers against this very thing.
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Format: Paperback
This book is as essential as everyone here makes it out to be. However, the authors' development of the notion of teamicide needs to be seriously questioned. While there is some truth to their characterization of incentive-based systems or tracking through testing having the ability to go haywire, the stated anti-postulate reads like an articulation of the doctrine of the soviet. No individuals' performances can be acknowledged to the group? At all times it must be enforced that the only goal is the group goal? This is the only dark ray in an otherwise wonderful collection of great insights. The reality is that a balance must be struck. I know balance and shades of gray are not popular in our polarizing, cartoon times, but politically, both the extreme Horatio Alger and the notion of the great state have crashed and burned. Truly, what is needed are more plural forms of organization.
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Format: Paperback
If you're working an environment you know is dysfunctional and could be better, Peopleware is definitely worth a read. This book is worth it just for the affirmation that how you instinctively know a knowledge business should work is, indeed, right on. If you're fighting petty battles against the Furniture Police, the book gives you good strategies for getting control of your cube back. Just a great and encouraging book all around.
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Format: Paperback
The book was written about software development projects, but is absolutely loaded with insight not just on that subject, but on management styles and workplace conditions and rules. One can read this book and become genuinely excited about the potential explosion of productivity, hand-in-hand with employee job satisfaction, that could occur if managers would simply follow the advice given by the authors on how to be effective workplace leaders.
Alas, it probably won't ever happen. Several years ago, the large (Fortune 20) company I worked for brought in Timothy Lister to present the book and the ideas in it to management prior to the start of a major software project. Lister did an excellent job presenting his and DeMarco's philosophy. The managers nodded sagely and showed every sign of comprehending and accepting the concepts contained in the book. Then Lister left, the project started, and the managers immediately reverted to the old style: setting unrealistic deadlines, pressuring employees to deliver more and more in less and less time, and in general following every tired old management strategy that almost always leads to a failed project -- as indeed, it did in this case.
So read this book, learn from it, and enjoy it (it's an easy, entertaining read) -- even if your managers are too stupid to profit from it.
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