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Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams

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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  8,046 ratings  ·  448 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 4.17  · 
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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
...more
Wouter
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
...more
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
Moses
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
...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”
...more
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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Marco
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
...more
Martin
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.

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.
Ignacio
Better read at my technical blog


Summary

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
...more
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
...more
Geert
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.

Pret
...more
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.
Victor
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.
Gvynevra
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.
Prem
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.
Amiy
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
very practical book with many examples of bad and good workspaces and work-cultures.
Michail Almyros
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a very interesting book, I took it to work and while I was discussing different ideas with people I could see how different chapters would apply to different situations.
Pedro Almeida
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
From a book of this age, it’s amazing some analysis of the status quo, the point of view and some proposals. It was a cool read!
Gustavo Leiva
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the main arguments this book makes is that the success in management of technology teams is not mainly about technology itself but rather about sociology.
The book describes a few areas unrelated to technology that are perceived to have an impact on how productive/happy a team can be.
In some cases it elaborates too much on certain areas, such as open space vs team rooms(author is against open space office for technology teams). In other topics the author covers them with a good enough lev
...more
Jalal
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book brings up common human related issues in tech companies along with real life examples and a decent sense of humor.
I will call it a must read for every software engineer.
Lorenzo
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: agile
Timelessly brilliant. Every sentence is a boon. And it’s amazing how agile you can be without even mentioning the word once.

(OK, I cheated a little here. The word “agile” appears exactly once, in the chapter about organizational learning.)
Javier
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The book assumes workers always behave like responsible adults, and offers advice for handling that kind of workers, keeping them happy, motivated, productive, etc.

When discussing what to do with people who still have infantile behaviour, it merely says: they should not be your coworkers, and then ignores them for the rest of the book.

Which is a nice approach.
Vladislav Gomzyakov
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
What a great book with insights on management and team work in general! My favourite ideas include the following.

Work gets done be real people who are much more than their functions within a company. Building successful teams of people who are happy to work together in an environment that is not indifferent to them is what makes real success possible. Treating people as disposable is a losing strategy in the long term.

Cookie cutter approach and rampant standardization of human behavior rules and
...more
Richard
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bigger projects have a higher probability of failure, typically 25% compared to 15% for smaller projects. The biggest cause of failure is sociology. We worry about the technical but rarely about the sociology issues.

In a production environment, it’s convenient to think of people as parts of the machine. When a part wears out, you get another. The replacement part is interchangeable with the original. You order a new one, more or less, by number.

This might be the case in a production line but thi
...more
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Denver Engineerin...: 2020-05 Peopleware 1 1 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.
...more

News & Interviews

There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
34 likes · 12 comments
“The manager’s function is not to make people work, but to make it possible for people to work.” 9 likes
“The fundamental response to change is not logical, but emotional.” 8 likes
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