The book Peopleware by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister has recently been released in a 3rd edition. The topics addressed in it are still very important. Managing software teams is changing, with agile teams that are self organized, collaborate intensively with their customers. Our workplaces change, we use new technology and ways to communicate but we still want to physically meet and work together in a pleasant environment.
I have been “infected” by reading the first edition of peopleware many years ago, which at that already made clear to me that software development is about people: when, how and where they can work together. Not about programming languages or tools (although it made software development easier). Not about fast computers, networks or internet access (although it helps). Soft skills matter in IT! Developing software is about people that communicate with customers, collaborating in teams, and are supported by their managers.
Here are some quotes from the book, which I also have tweeted using #peopleware:
The manager’s function is not to make people work, but to make it possible for people to work
Staying late or arriving early or staying home to work in peace is a damning indictment of the office environment
An organization that can’t make some assessment of its own productivity rate just hasn’t tried hard enough
Your people bring their brains with them every morning. They could put them to work for you at no additional cost if only there were a small measure of peace and quiet in the workspace
If your people aren’t smart enough to think their way through their work, the work will fail. No Methodology will help
Voluminous documentation is part of the problem, not part of the solution #process
Successful learning organizations are always characterized by strong middle management – Agree, set conditions for learning!
Peopleware 3rd edition talks about stand-ups and open spaces. I like that!
It’s not reasonable to leave unmanaged the risk for which the consequences are “just too awful to think about”
Our meetings are worse today than they were a generation ago, because a generation ago people wouldn’t have been able to bear them—they would have revolted
The ultimate management sin is wasting people’s time
Change won’t even get started unless people feel safe
People feel safe when they know they will not be demeaned or degraded for proposing a change
Paradoxically, change only has a chance of succeeding if failure—at least a little bit of failure—is also okay
Experience gets turned into learning when an organization alters itself to take account of what experience has shown.
Professionals want to develop themselves, and want to be happy at work. The book Peopleware provides insight in what developers and managers can do to address these and other relevant topics. If you truly are concerned with people, and looking for ways to improve how you collaboratively develop and deliver software, then this book is a must read.