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Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams
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Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  9,218 ratings  ·  509 reviews
Two of the computer industry's most popular authors and lecturers return with a new edition of the software management book that started a revolution.With humor and wisdom drawn from years of management and consulting experience, DeMarco and Lister demonstrate that the major issues of software development are human, not technical -- and that managers ignore them at their p ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 245 pages
Published January 1st 1999 by Dorset House Publishing Company, Incorporated (first published January 1st 1987)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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Ben Haley
Mar 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Peopleware is something of a classic in the world of Development management and it makes sense why. The book is straightforward, short, practical and influential. Below I have summarized some of the major points of the book:

1. First ask: should it be done at all?
2. Protect your workers personal lives
3. Turnover is an expense which is seldom measured. Moving causes turnover. Training prevents turnover.
4. Workers will work for quality, to be and make the best.
5. Interruption is expensive for mind
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Got on my wish list via amazon lists, and based on the title "Peopleware", I thought it focussed a lot more on people interaction and how they act and react, and shape up to be a team. What I got was a book full of tips & tricks for large scale organizations on how to tell managers not to disturb people who are working.

The whole book can be summed up in one sentence: Managers work by letting other people work - they need to simply keep off al disruptive events so the team can do it's "thing". T
Guilherme Ferreira
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A must-read, one of the best books I have ever read. I recommend it for everyone that would wishing get out from the comfort zone in our development. This book presents the forgot notion that people are the core of development process. And the most incredible fact of this book is that he has more than forty years since his first publication and keeps unknown for a great part of our managers.
Natasha Hurley-Walker
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent. Must-read for anyone who manages, or is being managed. I now have a better feel for just why I hate my cubicle so much, and how it's not just impacting my work today, but my entire career, by dampening my creativity. I have to listen to music to drown out the background noise, and this occupies my right brain to the point where I'm probably missing some really clever shortcuts and insight in my work. "You'll get nothing done here between 9 and 5" really resonated with me: the most pro ...more
Sergey Shishkin
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've heard praise of this book for many years but didn't get around to read it. It does indeed deserve all its praise of being a must read for managers in IT and other knowledge work. Especially considering its first edition came out in 1987, more than 30 years ago. I can only guess how radical it appeared back then. More surprising is why most managers in the mainstream industry have been happily ignoring authors' advice and instilling interrupt- and deadline-driven teamicide culture in their o ...more
Andrei Balici
Jan 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: management
As I am working my way up the ranks of the software engineering reporting line, I am becoming more and more interested in what people have to say about effective management and team organisation and collaboration. Thus, I have picked “Peopleware” in the hope that I will get some guidance on these elusive subjects.

To be honest, I have had difficulties writing this review, as I haven’t found “Peopleware” full of novel concepts nor filled with unfounded practical suggestions. It was just an “okay”
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
DeMarco/Lister sound so reasonable that it's hard not to take their theories as facts, but it's mostly anecdotal and should be taken with a grain of salt. In particular, some things that they treats as "teamicidal" are useful for other reasons.

I think clarifying how information is passed around in an organization would be useful–they point at it when they mention "coaching" but could be more explicit.

In general, a good book, and if you're a software engineer or a software engineering manager you
Richard Jeong
Apr 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: managers, workers,
Written for software developers in a project sense, it is of much more global impact to skills managers & leaders need. This is the reference book (among several) that any working person should read, as it provides insight into how our managers can work better and how eventually we can be better managers. The snapshot it provides is the reference managers need to work effectively.

What DeMarco and Lister have provided is what could be read as a field manual for managers. Indeed if you consider th
Arvydas Sidorenko
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: english
It is basically a sociology within teams and projects with many great examples from real world and psychology applied. If you are in a management position I would say this is a must read gem for you. Author has great critical thinking and writes about workplaces, teams and projects in sometimes even radical way.

When it comes to work, I always used to put technology over everything, but it convinced me that sociology > technology. It is supposed to be productive, satisfying fun to work. If it isn
Viktor Malieichyk
I would say that this is an essential read for everyone. And it doesn't matter whether you manager or being managed. This book in a very concise and straightforward manner tells about building successful and effective teams. And while there is no single recipe for building a great team, it could help find and eliminate obstacles in this way.
Not once while reading this book I wanted to shout "I knew it!", because somewhere deep I felt that open space is the best way to kill productivity or that
Mar 17, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A collection of essays, each a few pages at most, about how to manage teams. The focus is definitely on software developers, though most teams of creative types would benefit from the advice here. Probably more impactful in the 80s and 90s - most successful teams follow these ideas today. Still, a nugget or two of good information.

Part of a group of books (and all about the same size) purchased at my first serious job. Many of these weren't followed, and the group and company were less successfu
Better read at my technical blog


Peopleware is a book about sociology within software companies. The thesis is that projects fail because of “social” reasons, not technical ones.

Part I focuses on the individual. You must understand his or her motivations and perceptions to be able to act accordingly. What people builds, and how is it done (quality, deadlines…) has a huge impact on motivation.

Part II disembowels current trend of nasty open spaces at offices, and offers many improvements ove
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The ultimate sin in management us wasting people's time."

Peopleware approaches computing project management from a sociological perspective, attempting to understand the roles played by workers and middle management. It correctly chastises what the authors perceive as an excessive focus on technology -- when actually most software development is far from working with bleeding-edge technologies --, instead framing most of the issues on the development issue as arising from human problems, not te
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. It took time. Was the first paperback I was able to finish in a long long time. Even embarrassing how long it took. That part aside - this book definitely a strong suggestion for every manager from my side. Just be sure to take the latest edition. I initially started with the second edition and reading about telephony and voice mail issues was a tat too much. Luckily got my hands on the third.

Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: technical
Wow, what an engrossing book. Learned a lot from this book. Though this book is intended for line/people managers I would recommend to anyone who is working, be it in software field or any other field. Along with pragmatic programmer and clean code this book is a must read.
Michał Szajbe
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A true must-read for every aspiring team manager. Insightful and inspiring. I will surely be coming back to this book very often.
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
A bit outdated at times but hits the nail on the head in most of the chapters. I would strongly recommend this for all manager and office workers, especially in the IT industry.
Alex Shmyga
Apr 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I'm a software engineer without experience in management and I'd like to share my feedback about this book. I decided to read it because it was referenced by trusted sources as a solid book about software development management.

During reading the book I was thinking to put 4 stars because in some cases it's a bit out of date material about methods and practices which are used today in the modern software development world. However, at the end of the book, I decided to put sound five stars becaus
Nov 04, 2021 rated it liked it
Rating based on my experience with it. If a manager were to read it, I think it would *maybe* deserve a 4/5.

Big parts of this book seemed profound at first, then when I tried to think back on the ideas, felt very obvious and self-evident. A bunch of other points were for people who have much more control over a company that I expect to have. What was reassuring, though, is that some of the less conventional practices that are also good for workers were shown to be beneficial with statistics or
Yevgeniy Brikman
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A good read on how to build strong teams and how to be a good manager. Lots of interesting topics, including the role of product quality, methodologies, schedules, productivity, trust, freedom, and office planning.

Some good quotes from the book:

The major problems of our work are not so much technological as sociological in nature.

We Haven't Got Time to Think About This Job, Only to Do It

Historians long ago formed an abstraction about different theories of value: The Spanish Theory, for one, hel
Benjamin Pierce
Oct 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
A little dated and could probably use a new edition that explores instant messaging, remote work and other post-COVID realities. That being said, I found myself agreeing with most things in the book, especially around the need for focus time, team 'gelling', having fun at work, and the various evils that creep into corporate culture (referred to as teamicide in this book).

Overall, I would say this is required reading for any new or aspirational technology manager -- especially those that tend t
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quick read. Message is very clear (no longer new).

Just make sure to differentiate between the data being offered and the opinions of the writers.

I like that they touch quite a lot of subjects, though on the ones where I'm like 'Yeah! Now what kind of solutions are out there?' they fall a bit short, saying, we don't really know either. So I guess, in a way, that's also not a bad thing for me.
Caolan McMahon
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
A few interesting and thought-provoking ideas plus plenty of 'common sense' stuff too. The studies and examples cited are a bit dated now (80's), but much of it remains relevant... if anything we've doubled-down on some of the mistakes we were making then.

Although many chapters will not be surprising there's still value in a well organised list of things you know but may have forgotten to consider. It mostly avoids the management book waffle at the start but loses discipline towards the end.

Clark Mullen
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book. Covers many principles we know to be true on some deep level, yet are often forgotten or ignored.

Full of wisdom, kindness, and gentleness. Deeply inspiring. It has influenced how I think and help shape the goals for my life and career.
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great book on office culture and how to build a work culture that is fun and productive. I will definitely try to action some of the points in this book, and definitely worth reading again in the future to remind myself of some of the points. Love it.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish most managers read this book and regarded it as basics of clean and healthy management style. Though to a certain level some of the examples and suggestions sound a bit unrealistic, it's worth reading anyway, just to know that somewhere at certain time there were adequate people. ...more
Steve Westner
Jan 20, 2021 rated it liked it
The book was overly descriptive with little prescriptive advice. The advice given was often happy path and didn't really get into how to deal with IRL scenarios. That being said, there was some decent food for thought, particularly towards the and of the book (the first half of the book deals largely with physical work environments e.g. office space layouts). ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
very practical book with many examples of bad and good workspaces and work-cultures.
Mohan Vemulapalli
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Now in its third edition and a long time favorite in the software development and Agile communities this book is applicable and accessible to a much larger audience. Simply put, if you work with people, read this book.
David Carpinteiro
Jun 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
As a team leader this is one of those books that would have been extremely helpfull to have read it before starting that position, but nonetheless the information it presents is of extreme value. It helps you undeestand better your team, the people you work with and the work more effectivelly with your team.
A must read book for any manager.
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Denver Engineerin...: 2020-05 Peopleware 1 3 May 21, 2020 08:42AM  

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Tom DeMarco is the author of fifteen books, including five novels, a collection of short stories and the rest business books. His most recent work is a seemingly jinxed love story, The One-Way Time Traveler.

Traveler Cover

Before that he wrote Dark Harbor House, and before that Slack and Peopleware and The Deadline.

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The book gods, in their infinite kindness, have built second chances into the very structure of the modern distribution business. If you miss...
40 likes · 1 comments
“The manager’s function is not to make people work, but to make it possible for people to work.” 13 likes
“The fundamental response to change is not logical, but emotional.” 10 likes
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