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About Tom DeMarco
His most recent work is a "The One-Way Time Traveler," a romance in the form of a speculative novel. Prior to that he wrote two sci-fi novels, "A Ruby Beam of Light" and "Airship Nation," which together make up part of his series Dark World Chronicles.
Earlier books include "Dark Harbor House," the story of a summer-long house party on the coast of Maine. And before that he wrote two classics of the information age, "Slack," and "Peopleware." He lives with his wife, Sally Smyth, in the village of Camden on the coast of Maine.
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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.
A no-handwaving treatment of workplace culture. Yes, we all know culture is important, but just exactly what is it? In the first six chapters, the authors lay out the unique and powerful concept of culture drivers. You'll understand culture, both in your own workplace and in that of others, as you've never understood it before.
"Those who loved classics like Peopleware, Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies, and Slack will love Happy to Work Here. The authors, all members of the Atlantic Systems Guild, use storytelling gathered from decades of guiding workplace cultures to give us meaningful insights into organizations." – Michael Mah, Managing Partner of QSM Associates"The whole section on Culture Killers was hilarious. It will make you laugh . . . and cry."
What readers are saying:
- "What a revelation to find a book on corporate culture that is actually a joy to read! Happy to Work Here is so well-organized, graphically presented and written that even a non-corporate person like myself, who has been a writer and editor for smallish magazines and newspapers, can enjoy reading it and find so many resonant insights. Some of my favorites: leaders should 'be the behavior you seek;' design in products and the work environment is of utmost importance because 'if you don’t pay attention to beauty then you are consigned to expediency;' company structure should include a shared belief that 'no one is threatened by excellent performance;' and the best of all, for me, was the comment by one of the book’s six authors, Tom DeMarco, that the satisfaction of creating something 'as a partnership was better' than doing it alone, proof of how working together with the right group ethos can be so rewarding. — Jefferson, Maine
- "Yes, I recommend this book! It reeks of hard-learned lessons from which we all can benefit, in or outside of the corporate world." — Camden, Maine
- "I was interested to read Happy to Work Here” as the experienced authors carefully lay out the important drivers of a healthy culture in a company, as well as the culture killers. More importantly they provide a detailed blueprint on how one can assess the culture of their workplace and take steps to improve this most important aspect of a successful organization.As I read the book, I was reminded of observations made by Hyrum Smith, the cofounder with Stephen Covey of the FranklinCovey Co. In a recent book, Smith suggested there are three levels of emotion to motivate people to come to work each day. The lowest level is fear of losing one’s source of income and the feeling of having to come to work each day. The second level is duty were coming to work is considered the proper thing to do, and the highest level to motivate people to act is love where they actually look forward to coming to work. Employees at this level need very little supervision and workplace culture is the key to instilling this feeling of looking forward to working at the company. The research and resulting suggestions the authors provide are spot on to assist readers in first assessing, and then improving, the culture and productivity of their organizations.
Tom DeMarco, a leading management consultant to both Fortune 500 and up-and-coming companies, has discovered a counterintuitive principle that explains why efficiency improvement can sometimes make a company slow. If your real organizational goal is to become fast (responsive and agile), then he proposes that what you need is not more efficiency, but more slack.
What is “slack”? Slack is the degree of freedom in a company that allows it to change. It could be something as simple as adding an assistant to a department, letting high-priced talent spend less time at the photo copier and more time making key decisions. Slack could also appear in the way a company treats employees: instead of loading them up with overwork, a company designed with slack allows its people room to breathe, increase effectiveness, and reinvent themselves.
In thirty—three short chapters filled with creative learning tools and charts, you and your company can learn how to:
∑make sense of the Efficiency/Flexibility quandary
∑run directly toward risk instead of away from it
∑strengthen the creative role of middle management
∑make change and growth work together for even greater profits
A innovative approach that works for new- and old-economy companies alike, this revolutionary handbook will debunk commonly held assumptions about real-world management, and give you and your company a brand-new model for achieving and maintaining true effectiveness—and a healthier bottom line.
From prolific and influential consultant and author Tom DeMarco comes a project management novel that vividly illustrates the principles -- and outright absurdities -- that affect the productivity of a software development team.
With his trademark wit set free in the novel format, DeMarco centers his plot around Webster Tompkins, a division manager downsized from a giant telecommunications company, and subsequently given the opportunity to organize the entire software industry of an emerging (ex-Soviet block) country. Opportunity, yes, but also something of a threat: this is a country whose past has given a fairly grim meaning to the term "deadline." And of course Tomkins has a deadline. And of course it's an impossible one. And not only that, but when he seems to be on the brink of actually bringing projects home on time, the deadline changes. (This only happens in fiction.)
Under the gun, Mr. Tompkins tests the project management principles he has gathered over a lifetime. Each chapter closes with journal entries that make up the core of the eye-opening approach to management illustrated in this engaging novel.
This is the digital version of the printed book (Copyright © 2008).
Adrenaline junkies, dead fish, project sluts, true believers, Lewis and Clark, template zombies . . .
Most developers, testers, and managers on IT projects are pretty good at recognizing patterns of behavior and gut-level hunches, as in, “I sense that this project is headed for disaster.”
But it has always been more difficult to transform these patterns and hunches into a usable form, something a team can debate, refine, and use. Until now.
In Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies, the six principal consultants of The Atlantic Systems Guild present the patterns of behavior they most often observe at the dozens of IT firms they transform each year, around the world.
The result is a quick-read guide to identifying nearly ninety typical scenarios, drawing on a combined one-hundred-and-fifty years of project management experience. Project by project, you’ll improve the accuracy of your hunches and your ability to act on them.
The patterns are presented in an easy-reference format, with names designed to ease communication with your teammates. In just a few words, you can describe what’s happening on your project. Citing the patterns of behavior can help you quickly move those above and below you to the next step on your project. You’ll find classic patterns such as these:
- News Improvement
- Management by Mood Ring
- Piling On
- Rattle Yer Dags
- Natural Authority
- Fridge Door
- and more than eighty more!
Not every pattern will be evident in your organization, and not every pattern is necessarily good or bad. However, you’ll find many patterns that will apply to your current and future assignments, even in the most ambiguous circumstances. When you assess your situation and follow your next hunch, you'll have the collective wisdom of six world-class consultants at your side.
If There’s No Risk On Your Next Project, Don’t Do It.
Greater risk brings greater reward, especially in software development. A company that runs away from risk will soon find itself lagging behind its more adventurous competition. By ignoring the threat of negative outcomes–in the name of positive thinking or a can-do attitude–software managers drive their organizations into the ground.
In Waltzing with Bears, Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister–the best-selling authors of Peopleware–show readers how to identify and embrace worthwhile risks. Developers are then set free to push the limits.
The authors present the benefits of risk management, including that it makes aggressive risk-taking possible, protects management from getting blindsided, provides minimum-cost downside protection, reveals invisible transfers of responsibility, isolates the failure of a subproject.
Readers are armed with strategies for confronting the most common risks that software projects face: schedule flaws, requirements inflation, turnover, specification breakdown, and under-performance.
Waltzing with Bears will help you mitigate the risks–before they turn into project-killing problems. Risks are out there–and they should be there–but there is a way to manage them.
You might wonder what a future world would be like if women were in charge. Time traveler, J.J. Donegal from our present is about to find out. Part of what he discovers is entirely positive: a persisting peacefulness and communion with the natural world and its wildlife. But more troubling is his realization that the newly empowered women are frankly angry at the mess their male predecessors made of the past, including wars and environmental catastrophe. Putting guys definitively in their place is not just a side-effect of their matriarchy, it is an essential. They see female supervision of males as a necessity for safety of the earth and all its inhabitants. Donegal's entire concept of what it means to be a man needs to be revised. Welcome to the future.
An added complication is that the great love of his prior life, Jill, has been left behind in the distant past. There is no going back to her, but he senses she must have left something for him to find, a final message. It could be the release that will allow him to find love again in his new present. Might the new female power elite be enlisted to help him find her message?
"Recommended without reservation" - Book Viral
"A Handmaid's Tale in reverse"
"One Heck of a Twist: trouble in paradise . . . from a man's point of view"
- Goodreads review
Nothing works. Cars and trucks and airplanes and guns and bombs are nothing more than paperweights. A mysterious disturbance propagated onto the earth's magnetic field has the effect of inhibiting all explosions. It has repealed most of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, leaving the world as it was in your great great grandparents' time.
Remaining technology? The sailboat.
Volume II of Dark World Chronicles: The Age of Airships
Homer Layton's young protégé, Loren Martine, is charged with the defense of the Baracoa colony and preservation of the Layton Effect transmitter that has made the world go dark. He knows an attack is imminent, that the colony's success in defeating the earlier attack will not be so easily repeated. The shadowy Rupert Paule in Washington is determined to pulverize them. His forces will come again, under sail, and Loren's few sailing vessels will have to be quick to repel them. He sets out to invent a more effective keel to make his boats faster and closer to the wind.
The invention he comes up with is staggering: a variation of the Layton Effect causes a drastic local slowing of the flow of time in one dimension, so a keel which is free to move forward and back and up and down is effectively locked in its plane from side to side. His sailing craft will not slip to windward and they won't heal over in the wind. To his utter astonishment, he discovers that the keel also works when turned on its side. It is falling, but so slowly as not to be noticed due to locally modified time in the vertical dimension. The vertical keel floats in the air like a skyhook. He and his colleagues set out to use the new technology to fashion a fleet of airships. The airships are propelled by wind and held aloft by Layton Effect transmitters. What this changes is only everything. Let the enemy come in their ridiculous old-fashioned ships. Loren will defeat them from above.
The world has gone dark. Nothing works. Cars and trucks and airplanes and guns and bombs are nothing more than paperweights. A mysterious disturbance propagated onto the earth's magnetic field has the effect of inhibiting all explosions. It has repealed most of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, leaving the world as it was in your great great grandparents' time.
The villain (or hero, depending on your perspective) who has made this happen is the physicist Homer Layton. He must be destroyed. And his stupid machine that injects the disturbance must be destroyed. Because as long as it is running there can never be another real war. That is unacceptable. Fortunes of treasure and innovation have been invested in war materiel, all of it now useless. Most people would like to have their cars and computers and televisions working again, but that's not what really matters. What really matters is that governments cannot get on with the business of war. The power elites around the world have determined to track down Layton and his little colony of war opponents and smash them. Then the nuclear war that that was just about to happen when he turned on his damnable machine can finally get started . . .