kareem's Reviews > Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency

Slack by Tom DeMarco
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's review
Aug 27, 2007

liked it

Having read DeMarco's classic on managing software professionals, Peopleware, quite some time ago, it was with eagerness that I dove into Slack.

DeMarco highlights some of the challenges that most software companies face--aggressive schedules, expected overtime, change management, motivating employees, and risk management, among others. He effectively describes the types of scenarios that lead to problems in each area, but does not provide as many solutions as I would have liked. The premise of the book is that slack in an organization--i.e. time spent doing nothing--is an opportunity for employees to step back, evaluate their processes, products, and roles, and effect change to make them better. This also means that 100% efficiency--i.e. being busy all the time--is extremely counter-productive to the growth and dynamism of a company.

I found myself nodding throughout most of the book, but wished DeMarco would have provided more solutions than he did. While it's not perfect, DeMarco does provide some interesting insights and the book is worth a read.
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