Peoplewear: Productive Projects and Teams

Over the weekend I read Peoplewear: Productive Projects and Teams (2nd Edition) by Tom deMarco & Timothy Lister. It’s a really good book on how to run development (and projects) within a company, which focuses on the people and environmental issues more than technology. Even though the original edition is now 20 years old (and the second is 10 years), it has not really aged that much (other than talking about COBOL) and still makes a lot of sense.

The downside of the book is that it has the effect of sapping your motivation and is really quite depressing, as the main factors it highlights as increasing productivity are just the sort of things that you often can’t get round upper management (more space per employee, reduced noise, dedicated space for teams, it being a fun place to work) as it’s hard to quantify them and their impact on productivity.

However there is some good stuff that can be taken from it, time spent working without interruptions is quality time for doing certain types of tasks (e.g. design, coding) where you need to get into a flow. I think this is the main point I can take away from the book, trying to minimise my interruptions on other people as even the just a quick question type of interruption can cause a lot of lost time for them.

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