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Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (Second Edition) Paperback – February 1, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Dorset House Publishing Company, Incorporated; 2nd edition (February 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932633439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932633439
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Summed up in one sentence, Peopleware says this: give smart people physical space, intellectual responsibility and strategic direction. DeMarco and Lister advocate private offices and windows. They advocate creating teams with aligned goals and limited non-team work. They advocate managers finding good staff and putting their fate in the hands of those staff. The manager's function, they write, is not to make people work but to make it possible for people to work.
Why is Peopleware so important to Microsoft and a handful of other successful companies? Why does it inspire such intense devotion amongst the elite group of people who think about software project management for a living? Its direct writing and its amusing anecdotes win it friends. So does its fundamental belief that people will behave decently given the right conditions. Then again, lots of books read easily, contain funny stories and exude goodwill. Peopleware's persuasiveness comes from its numbers - from its simple, cold, numerical demonstration that improving programmers' environments will make them more productive.
The numbers in Peopleware come from DeMarco and Lister's Coding War Games, a series of competitions to complete given coding and testing tasks in minimal time and with minimal defects. The Games have consistently confirmed various known facts of the software game. For instance, the best coders outperform the ten-to-one, but their pay seems only weakly linked to their performance. But DeMarco and Lister also found that the best-performing coders had larger, quieter, more private workspaces. It is for this one empirical finding that Peopleware is best known.
(As an aside, it's worth knowing that DeMarco and Lister tried to track down the research showing that open-plan offices make people more productive.
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Format: Paperback
As summer interns at Microsoft, my friends and I used to take "field trips" to the company supply room to stock up on school supplies. Among the floppy disks, mouse pads, and post-it notes was a stack of small paperback books, so I took one home to read.
The book was Peopleware, by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister. This book was one of the most influential books I've ever read. The best way to describe it would be as an Anti-Dilbert Manifesto.
Ever wonder why everybody at Microsoft gets their own office, with walls and a door that shuts? It's in there. Why do managers give so much leeway to their teams to get things done? That's in there too. Why are there so many jelled SWAT teams at Microsoft that are remarkably productive? Mainly because Bill Gates has built a company full of managers who read Peopleware. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is the one thing every software manager needs to read... not just once, but once a year.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I cannot overstate just how great this book is!
DeMarco and Lister don't mess around. They go right to the heart of project and team management and tell you exactly what makes one company succeed while so many others fail: it's not technology, it's people.
With reckless abandon, they attack cubicles, dress codes, telephones, hiring policies, and company core hours and demonstrate how managers who are not insecure about their positions, who shelter their employees from corporate politics, who, in short, make it possible for people to work are the ones who complete projects and whose employees have fun doing so. The authors use no-nonsense writing, statistical evidence, and even humorous anecdotes to drive their points home.
While the first edition was as appropriate to today's corporate cultures as it ever was, the authors have added analysis of some of the latest trends in management in this new second edition, and show what's good and what's not. The update includes coverage of the dangers of constant overtime, the stupidity of motivational posters, the side effects of process improvement programs, how to make change possible, and the costs of turnover. As with the rest of the book, all topics receive thorough and thoughtful treatment.
Although the book is weighed heavily towards software engineering projects, you'll find that much of what DeMarco and Lister say apply to projects where creativity and analytical skills are required. If you're a manager of such a project, consider this book required reading before you do anything else today. If you're a team member on such a project, buy a copy for your boss, and an extra one for your boss's boss.
One final note: I'd wager that Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, must use this book as inspiration for his comic strip. Dilbert's encounters with his moronic boss and idiotic company policies seem to come right from the pages of Peopleware's advice on what not to do.
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Format: Paperback
I was asked to read this book for a Master's degree class. Like many textbooks, I approached it with caution, but was pleasantly surprised by what I found within. Though this book was written primarily for software developers who are often backed against the wall to produce, the content is really universal to most business situations. We usually have to work with people, and we usually have to produce in our various fields.
Peopleware is a book you should read if you desire your business team to reach its full potential regardless of the industry you are in. Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister cover a lot of territory that is totally missed by other leader/manager books. They cover topics such as the workplace environment, the value of fun, and developing a chemistry with your team that is highly productive.
While reading the book it was obvious that they had served in the trenches of American businesses. The universal mistakes that companies continue to make over and over have been catalogued and brought to light in this volume. But they not only highlight the common mistakes, they offer proven techniques to help you avoid these same mistakes.
If you are in the process of forming or leading individuals or a team of people, the ideas found in this book will help you take them the top. You will enjoy the writing style, the humor, and the information contained in this volume.
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