- Paperback: 245 pages
- Publisher: Dorset House; 2nd edition (February 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0932633439
- ISBN-13: 978-0932633439
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 200 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #512,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams Paperback – February 1, 1999
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There are many books on management, leadership and social dynamics. I've a few. I know people who have read a lot more. This book cuts across topics discussed in multiple books in much shorter language. This book also ties together topics that other books do not. I, personally, found it easier to read everything from one book quickly rather than figure it out from matching up several ones.
Fast read. Well written. Gets to the point. Has a very modern philosophy on teams.
HOWEVER the authors of this book focus primarily on one style of project work, that being working on teams. In fact they focus almost exclusively on a concept I know as "self-directed teams."
Other ways groups of people can work together is rarely discussed.
Also some of the recommendations will likely not be possible to implement depending on your position in the company. For example, a team manager may not have a say on who is welcome on his/her team. If someone is not working out, he/she may not have the option of getting rid of that person. Also, people who very obviously should not belong on the same team may be forced into that work arrangement despite everyone's protests. HR may do that. It's nice to read that that team won't work, but ... everyone knew that already.
The authors have written “Peopleware” basing on their vast consulting experience for software firms, as well as their experiments and survey-based research. The book’s title signifies the importance of employees; the prevalent message is that most of problems in software projects are not related to technology, but relations between people. Bad atmosphere, working overtime, context switching - these are much more likely to make a project miss its deadline than tools and technologies used by the team. A considerable portion of text is focusing on bad practices, found in many corporations and oftentimes excused as “necessary evil” or “politics”. Chapters are short, with examples from many companies (negative stories are anonymous). In its form, the book is a series of meaningful essays, written in informal, humorous way.
It is absolutely worth mentioning, that this title is *not* about methodologies of project management, nor project performance or software tools. They are downplayed on purpose; in industries which demand creativity, people are most important. As the authors are focused on human aspects (thinking, emotions, psychology, interactions), “Peopleware” will always be relevant. The first edition was published in 1987, I am confident that it did not require much revision since then.
My favourite chapter is on team creation - there is no golden rule which guarantees that a team fill perform better than sum of its parts, however there are numerous surefire ways to make it perform worse. The positive examples are revolving around motivated people, aligned with general goals of their companies, then let loose on finding solutions on their own. Managers are supposed to be obstacle removers, not dictators.
If companies were adhering to postulated recommendations, many, many people would be able to say that their work is pleasure. Please read it, then put it on your manager’s desk :)
The world of software development is becoming increasingly more important as computer technology improves and we desperately need better software engineers. Don't let yourself become a 'hack,' sitting in meetings all day and never writing a single line of code; free yourself from distractions, achieve your programming 'flow' and make the software engineering world a better place by reading this book!
Overall the book is very approachable and an easy and refreshing read. Also I like the fact it has short straight-to-the-point chapters which makes the reader quickly get the message and make it a true pleasure to read.