- 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: 201 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams Paperback – February 1, 1999
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While the book breaches many different topics like motivation, team formation, workspace and so on and have some interesting idea in general it seems too superficial and sometimes even harmful (see examples below).
he major point that hammered all through the book is "Remove impediments and let the team work on its own." It's a good one-line advice. However by concentrating on this idea the book seems to implicitly assume that all developers are great professionals who are socially adept and have considerable experience in the industry and can just work everything out by themselves. Which looks too simplistic and optimistic.
Overall the book may be recommended to managers and team leads as a text about rarely discussed subjects, but I would take it with a big grain of salt. And I wouldn't recommend it to an inexperienced developers since it's too easy to get some wrong ideas from it.
Some examples of "stuff I didn't like":
- As an example of great team the authors talk about a team of testers that "begin to cultivate and image of destroyers. ... The worse they made you feel, the more they enjoyed it. ... They took to cackling horribly whenever a program failed ..." and so on. All these are presented as a unique culture which made the team tighter and more effective. While the description is tongue-in-cheek (at least I hope so) it certainly isn't a clever idea to present a socially offensive team as a sole example of a great team in a book concerning sociology.
- The book cite some statistics, but analyze it in not-so-scientific way. It doesn't even mention isolation of factors (i.e. that statistics aren't contaminated by some unaccounted factors) and treats correlation as causality. For example from the fact that teams where estimations are done by system analysts are in general slightly more productive than teams with estimations made by developers it concludes that SAs do better estimates and better estimates make developers more motivated. The other explanation which authors ignore would be that the teams with SAs estimates are more effective because they simply do have SAs.
- The book talk about quality as if it a scalar value. It stresses several times that lowering quality standard demotivates the team. However it doesn't try to go even a bit deeper and discuss that there are different aspects of quality and that it's important to have a relevant common vision on quality for a team.
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!