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Peopleware Productive Projects and Teams Tom DeMarco

May 28, 2021 - 512 words - 3 mins Found a typo? Edit me
people management

Software development is about people: when, how and where they can best work together. Not about programming languages or tools. Not about fast computers, networks or internet access.

Soft skills are truly important in IT, more than people tend to think.

Developing software is about people that communicate with their customers and stakeholders, are supported by their managers and collaborate in teams.

Some of my favourite quotes from this book

  • Staying late or arriving early is a damaging indictment of the office environment.

  • Someone who can help a project to take solid form and progress is worth two people who just do work.

  • People should be asking and wondering why things are getting done the way they are being done.

  • There must be always a trade between quality and quantity.

  • Organisations tend to expand and create a “busy day”, creating a lot of meetings rather than trust their employees to self-organize.

  • The human elements are usually the bottleneck of a project.

  • People won’t work harder if you put them under pressure. They might work more for some time, but they will also get overburden and leave.

  • Managers’ real role is to make it possible for people to work, rather than forcing them to.

  • Anything you need to quantify can be measured in any way that it’s superior to not measuring at all.

  • The ultimate management sin is wasting people’s time.

  • Change won’t even get started unless people feel safe.

  • Change only has a chance of succeeding if failure (at least a little 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. This book provides ideas in what managers and developers can do to address these and other similar topics. If you are concerned with people, and looking for ways to improve how you collaboratively develop and deliver software, then this book is for you.


  1. The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of the Parts

We tend to use the word team fairly loosely in the business world, calling any group of people assigned to work together a “team.” But many of these groups just don’t seem like teams. They don’t have a common definition of success or any identifiable team spirit. Something is missing. What is missing is a phenomenon we call jell.

Concept of the Jelled Team

A jelled team is a group of people so strongly knit that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The production of such a team is greater than that of the same people working in unjelled form. Just as important, the enjoyment that people derive from their work is greater than what you’d expect given the nature of the work itself.


I found also a nice serie that shares some thoughts over each chapter of this book.

230 pages