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Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (1987)

by Tom DeMarco, Timothy R. Lister

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,6122311,227 (4.34)2
Few books in computing have had as profound an influence on software management as Peopleware . The unique insight of this longtime best seller is that the major issues of software development are human, not technical. They’re not easy issues; but solve them, and you’ll maximize your chances of success. “ Peopleware has long been one of my two favorite books on software engineering. Its underlying strength is its base of immense real experience, much of it quantified. Many, many varied projects have been reflected on and distilled; but what we are given is not just lifeless distillate, but vivid examples from which we share the authors’ inductions. Their premise is right: most software project problems are sociological, not technological. The insights on team jelling and work environment have changed my thinking and teaching. The third edition adds strength to strength.” — Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., Kenan Professor of Computer Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Author of The Mythical Man-Month and The Design of Design “ Peopleware is the one book that everyone who runs a software team needs to read and reread once a year. In the quarter century since the first edition appeared, it has become more important, not less, to think about the social and human issues in software development. This is the only way we’re going to make more humane, productive workplaces. Buy it, read it, and keep a stock on hand in the office supply closet.” —Joel Spolsky, Co-founder, Stack Overflow “When a book about a field as volatile as software design and use extends to a third edition, you can be sure that the authors write of deep principle, of the fundamental causes for what we readers experience, and not of the surface that everyone recognizes. And to bring people, actual human beings, into the mix! How excellent. How rare. The authors have made this third edition, with its additions, entirely terrific.” —Lee Devin and Rob Austin, Co-authors of The Soul of Design and Artful Making For this third edition, the authors have added six new chapters and updated the text throughout, bringing it in line with today’s development environments and challenges. For example, the book now discusses pathologies of leadership that hadn’t previously been judged to be pathological; an evolving culture of meetings; hybrid teams made up of people from seemingly incompatible generations; and a growing awareness that some of our most common tools are more like anc...… (more)
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English (23)  German (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
A little dated in some ways but still extremely topical in most others. Really nice thinking about how people can work best and what keeps them from doing so. ( )
  danielskatz | Dec 26, 2023 |
Easily one of the best books I've read in recent times. Made me understand a lot more about what works and what doesn't (and why) in the field of software development. It's an old, classic book, but reads as if it had been written yesterday. ( )
  zeh | Jun 3, 2023 |
As I sometimes do for professional development books, I have written a more detailed review than am posting here.

Peopleware was interesting although, as a non-manager, perhaps not as ground breaking and insightful as many people seem to think that it is. This was largely because I had heard most of the points that are relevant to individual software engineers in other books that cited this one. That said, I am glad I read it; I may have to come back to it on that future day when I am a team lead or otherwise in a leadership position.

At times, the book seemed dated, but that is what I get for not realizing that there was a new edition when I bought my used copy. It still contained much that still rings true.

The book is organized into five sections of related essays. Instead of discussing each essay in detail, I will discuss the high level themes pertaining to each section.

The first section is titled "Managing the human resource". The main point of this section is that employees are not modular resources. Section two is "The office environment". This section describes why offices can be the hardest place to get things done and how that can be changed. Part three, "The right people", discusses the importance of hiring the right people and gives some tips on how to get them. DeMarco and Lister believe that managers should get the right people, make sure they are happy enough to not leave, and then turn them loose.

In part four, "Growing productive teams", we learn that having the right people is not enough and sometimes some effort is necessary to make a group of good people into a functioning team. A good team, a jelled team, is more productive than the sum of the individual contributors. The final section of the book, "It's supposed to be fun to work here", provides a much needed reminder that work should be satisfying and fun and this is good for both the employees and the company. It is within the power of managers to encourage an environment that will be both fun and productive.

As I said in the beginning, this is overall an interesting book that does not, I think, have as much relevance to me now as it will in the future. That said, I am glad I read it, and I am looking forward to rereading it in the future. ( )
  eri_kars | Jul 10, 2022 |
Weil ich einen neuen Job antrete und mich auch angemessen vorbereiten möchte, las ich gerade zum zweiten Mal nach einigen Jahren das Buch, in dem es um den "Faktor Mensch" in der IT geht.

Es ist wirklich erstaunlich, wie viele Entwicklungen die Autoren Tom DeMarco und Tim Lister schon vor so vielen Jahren vorweggenommen haben. ( )
  ddeimeke | Feb 7, 2022 |
A good, but painful read, about why companies, teams and individuals sometimes get in the way of success, what to watch for, and some ways to fix it. The truth can be painful sometimes, but it's sometimes good to hear other people have a name for that pain. ( )
  craignicol | Dec 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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Lister, Timothy R.main authorall editionsconfirmed
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Few books in computing have had as profound an influence on software management as Peopleware . The unique insight of this longtime best seller is that the major issues of software development are human, not technical. They’re not easy issues; but solve them, and you’ll maximize your chances of success. “ Peopleware has long been one of my two favorite books on software engineering. Its underlying strength is its base of immense real experience, much of it quantified. Many, many varied projects have been reflected on and distilled; but what we are given is not just lifeless distillate, but vivid examples from which we share the authors’ inductions. Their premise is right: most software project problems are sociological, not technological. The insights on team jelling and work environment have changed my thinking and teaching. The third edition adds strength to strength.” — Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., Kenan Professor of Computer Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Author of The Mythical Man-Month and The Design of Design “ Peopleware is the one book that everyone who runs a software team needs to read and reread once a year. In the quarter century since the first edition appeared, it has become more important, not less, to think about the social and human issues in software development. This is the only way we’re going to make more humane, productive workplaces. Buy it, read it, and keep a stock on hand in the office supply closet.” —Joel Spolsky, Co-founder, Stack Overflow “When a book about a field as volatile as software design and use extends to a third edition, you can be sure that the authors write of deep principle, of the fundamental causes for what we readers experience, and not of the surface that everyone recognizes. And to bring people, actual human beings, into the mix! How excellent. How rare. The authors have made this third edition, with its additions, entirely terrific.” —Lee Devin and Rob Austin, Co-authors of The Soul of Design and Artful Making For this third edition, the authors have added six new chapters and updated the text throughout, bringing it in line with today’s development environments and challenges. For example, the book now discusses pathologies of leadership that hadn’t previously been judged to be pathological; an evolving culture of meetings; hybrid teams made up of people from seemingly incompatible generations; and a growing awareness that some of our most common tools are more like anc...

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