Peopleware Summary in 15 Tweets

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Cover Peopleware 3rd editionThe book Peopleware by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister has 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 and 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 time already made clear to me that software development is about people: when, how and where they can best work together. Not about programming languages or tools (although it makes software development easier). Not about fast computers, networks or internet access (although that surely helps). Soft skills matter in IT! Developing software is about people that communicate with their customers and stakeholders, collaborate in teams, and are supported by their managers.

15 quotes from Peopleware

Here are 15 quotes from Tom DeMarco’s and Tim Lister’s book Peopleware, which I also tweet 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 – this one is too large to tweet, but it’s a great quote!

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
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 also too long, but boy, what a great quote!

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.

More book summaries

This book summary of Peopleware in 15 tweets was the first tweetable summary that I published in 2013 which has become a very popular post on I’ve published several more book summaries:

More will follow, so stay tuned!

(Post was updated om Jan 17, 2017: Text revised and added a list of other book summaries in 15 tweets)

Ben Linders

I help organizations with effective software development and management practices. Active member of several networks on Agile, Lean and Quality, and a frequent speaker and writer.

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