Closing the gap between theory and reality, or academia and the industry, is not well done without having deep roots in both domains.   Timothy Lister and Tom DeMarco have proven their mastery of both sides of the equation in their book Peopleware.  They clearly lay out how to run a technical organization at many different organizational levels, and are able to fit theory with practice while managing (somehow) to be entertaining!  No matter what level of engagement you have with your organization, if you work in IT or technology you will benefit from their wisdom.

The book tackles a lot of different subjects and is quite comprehensive.  Lister and DeMarco discuss many topics such as getting a team to gel with one another, what it means to “flow” when working, and how much time it costs when an engineer’s “flow” is interrupted.  Additionally, they talk about optimal office layout (working environment) as well as intangible benefits of certain team dynamics.

As an engineer and entrepreneur, it is very refreshing to read the (not so) common sense that is written on every page of this book!  Even if you have worked every position from entry level engineer to CEO, you will still benefit from the years of experience and knowledge shared in Peopleware.

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams (3rd Edition)


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 develop¿ment. 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 anchors than propellers. Anyone who needs to manage a software project or software organization will find invaluable advice throughout the book.


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