Peopleware Productive Projects and Teams

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-06-18
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional

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Few books in computing have had as profound an influence on software management as Peopleware . The unique insight of this longtime best seller is that the major issues of software development are human, not technical. They’re not easy issues; but solve them, and you’ll maximize your chances of success.


Peopleware has long been one of my two favorite books on software engineering. Its underlying strength is its base of immense real experience, much of it quantified. Many, many varied projects have been reflected on and distilled; but what we are given is not just lifeless distillate, but vivid examples from which we share the authors’ inductions. Their premise is right: most software project problems are sociological, not technological. The insights on team jelling and work environment have changed my thinking and teaching. The third edition adds strength to strength.”

— Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., Kenan Professor of Computer Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Author of The Mythical Man-Month and The Design of Design

Peopleware is the one book that everyone who runs a software team needs to read and reread once a year. In the quarter century since the first edition appeared, it has become more important, not less, to think about the social and human issues in software develop┬┐ment. This is the only way we’re going to make more humane, productive workplaces. Buy it, read it, and keep a stock on hand in the office supply closet.”

—Joel Spolsky, Co-founder, Stack Overflow

“When a book about a field as volatile as software design and use extends to a third edition, you can be sure that the authors write of deep principle, of the fundamental causes for what we readers experience, and not of the surface that everyone recognizes. And to bring people, actual human beings, into the mix! How excellent. How rare. The authors have made this third edition, with its additions, entirely terrific.”

—Lee Devin and Rob Austin, Co-authors of The Soul of Design and Artful Making


For this third edition, the authors have added six new chapters and updated the text throughout, bringing it in line with today’s development environments and challenges. For example, the book now discusses pathologies of leadership that hadn’t previously been judged to be pathological; an evolving culture of meetings; hybrid teams made up of people from seemingly incompatible generations; and a growing awareness that some of our most common tools are more like anchors than propellers. Anyone who needs to manage a software project or software organization will find invaluable advice throughout the book.


Author Biography


T om DeMarco and Timothy Lister are principals of the Atlantic Systems Guild (www.systemsguild.com), a consulting firm specializing in the complex processes of system building, with particular emphasis on the human dimension. Together, they have lectured, written, and consulted internationally since 1979 on management, estimating, productivity, and corporate culture.

T om DeMarco is the author or coauthor of nine books on subjects ranging from development methods to organizational function and dysfunction, as well as two novels and a book of short stories. His consulting practice focuses primarily on expert witness work, balanced against the occasional project and team consulting assignment. Currently enjoying his third year teaching ethics at the University of Maine, he lives in nearby Camden.

Timothy Lister divides his time among consulting, teaching, and writing. Based in Manhattan, Tim is coauthor, with Tom, of Waltzing With Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects (Dorset House Publishing Co., Inc., 2003), and of Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior (Dorset House Publishing Co., Inc., 2008), written with four other principals of the Atlantic Systems Guild. He is a member of the IEEE, the ACM, and the Cutter IT Trends Council, and is a Cutter Fellow.


Table of Contents

Preface to the Third Edition

PART I: Managing the Human Resource

Chapter 1: Somewhere Today, a Project Is Failing

Chapter 2: Make a Cheeseburger, Sell a Cheeseburger

Chapter 3: Vienna Waits for You

Chapter 4: Quality–If Time Permits

Chapter 5: Parkinson’s Law Revisited

Chapter 6: Laetrile


PART II: The Office Environment


Chapter 7: The Furniture Police

Chapter 8: “You Never Get Anything Done Around Here Between 9 and 5.”

Chapter 9:  Saving Money on Space


Chapter 10: Brain Time Versus Body Time

Chapter 11: The Telephone

Chapter 12: Bring Back the Door

Chapter 13: Taking Umbrella Steps


PART III: The Right People


Chapter 14: The Hornblower Factor

Chapter 15: Let’s Talk About Leadership

Chapter 16: Hiring a Juggler

Chapter 17: Playing Well With Others

Chapter 18: Childhood’s End

Chapter 19: Happy to Be Here

Chapter 20: Human Capital


PART IV: Growing Productive Teams


Chapter 21: The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of the Parts

Chapter 22: The Black Team

Chapter 23: Teamicide

Chapter  24: Teamicide Revisited

Chapter 25: Competition

Chapter 27: A Spaghetti Dinner

Chapter 28: Open Kimono

Chapter 29: Chemistry for Team Formation


PART V: Fertile Soil


Chapter 30: The Self-Healing System

Chapter 31: Dancing With Risk

Chapter 32: Monologues, Meetings, and Conversations

Chapter 33: The Ultimate Management Sin Is . . .

Chapter 34: E(vil) Mail

Chapter 35: Making Change Possible

Chapter 36: Organizational Learning

Chapter 37: The Making of Community


PART VI: It’s Supposed to Be Fun to Work Here

Chapter 38: Chaos and Order

Chapter 39: Free Electrons

Chapter 40: Holgar Dansk




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