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Peopleware

Productive Projects and Teams

By Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister
18-minute read
Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

Peopleware provides an in-depth look at the common mistakes project managers make, and offers concrete insight on the ways to correct them. By following a few simple steps, you can transform your development team into the productivity powerhouse that they’re waiting to become.

  • Anybody who is interested in management
  • Anybody who is passionate about software development
  • Anyone who wants to get the most out of their team at work

Tom DeMarco is a software engineer and software company consultant as well as the author of several books on the subject of project management and software development.

Timothy Lister is a software engineer specializing in risk management as well as the human aspects of technological work, and has published a number of books on his areas of expertise.

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Peopleware

Productive Projects and Teams

By Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Contains 11 key ideas
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Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister
Synopsis

Peopleware provides an in-depth look at the common mistakes project managers make, and offers concrete insight on the ways to correct them. By following a few simple steps, you can transform your development team into the productivity powerhouse that they’re waiting to become.

Key idea 1 of 11

Many creative projects fail because managers have adopted the wrong management style.

Work done in the field of creative software development is largely project-based. Yet unfortunately, many of these projects crash and burn with many a manager scratching her head as to why.

Indeed, companies undertake countless projects that are doomed to failure. In studies that looked at some 500 different software development projects from real companies, the authors observed that 15 percent of projects were either canceled or never ended up being used.

Moreover, for larger and more time-consuming projects, specifically those that lasted 25 or more work-years, 25 percent remained incomplete.

In studying these failed projects, the authors found that they couldn’t be explained by failures in technology. In fact, the majority of failed projects had no technological problems at all. Rather, the reasons for failure were sociological – that is, they involved the teams that worked on the projects.

Unfortunately, most managers don’t address this aspect of project management, because of an erroneous understanding of their role in the business.

To illustrate this, imagine you’re a manager out with your team of programmers at a cocktail party, and another party-goer asks you what you “do for a living.” How do you respond?

If you answer, “I’m in software programming,” then you’ve already got it wrong!

Managers, even those who manage teams that do technological work, are mostly in the human communication business. Their success, therefore, is derived from positive human interactions within their teams.

Managers who don’t understand this central aspect of their job are more likely to manage inefficiently and make their workers unhappy, and thereby diminish the quality of their work.

Thus, if you want to be a successful project manager – even in a highly technical field such as software development – you have to place a strong focus on people, not technology, management.

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