Friday, May 14, 2010

Peopleware - Part 1 - Managing the Human Resource

Chapter 1: Somewhere today, a project is failing
  • "The major problems of our work are not so much technological as sociological in nature."
  • "Most managers are willing to concede the idea that they've got more people worries than technical worries, but they seldom manage that way."
Chapter 2: Make a cheeseburger, sell a cheeseburger
  • "Development is inherently different from production, but managers of development often allow their thinking to be shaped by a management philosophy derived entirely from a production environment."
  • "The 'make a cheeseburger, sell a cheeseburger' mentality can be fatal in your development area. It can only server to damp your people's spirits and focus their attention away from the real problems at hand."
  • "Encourage people to make some errors. Ask folks on occasion what dead-end roads they've been down recently."
  • "You may be able to kick people to make them active, but not to make them creative, inventive and thoughtful."
  • "The uniqueness of every worker is a continued annoyance to the manager who has blindly adopted a management style from the production world."
  • "Catalysts - someone who can help a project to jell is worth two people who just do work."
  • "If an excuse is needed for the lack of think time, the excuse is always time pressure as though there were ever work to be done without time pressure."
Chapter 3: Vienna waits for you
  • "Productivity ought to mean achieving more in an hour, but too often it has come to mean extracting more for an hour of pay."
  • "Although staff may be exposed to the message 'work longer and harder' while they're at the office, they're getting a very different message at home such as 'life is passing you by'."
  • "Overtime for salaried workers is almost always followed by an equal period of compensatory 'undertime' while the workers catch up with their lives."
  • "Workaholics will put in uncompensated overtime, working extravagant hours, though perhaps with declining effectiveness."
Chapter 4: Quality - If time persists
  • "In the workplace, the major arouser of emotions is threatened self-esteem. Any steps you take to jeopardise the quality of the product is likely to set the emotions of staff against you."
  • "The minimum that will satisfy them is more or less the best quality they have achieved in the past."
  • "Allowing the standard of quality to be set by the buyer, rather than the builder, is what we call 'the flight from excellence'."
Chapter 5: Parkinson's Law revisited
  • "Work expands to fill the time allocated to it. This almost certainly doesn't apply to your people."
  • "The reasons that some people don't perform are lack of competence, lack of confidence, and lack of affiliation with others on the project and the project goals."
  • "When leaning on someone is the only option, the manager is the last person to do the leaning, it works far better when the message comes from the team."
  • "The systems analyst tends to be a better estimator than either the programmer or supervisor."
  • "Projects on which the boss applies no schedule pressure whatsoever had the highest productivity of all."
Chapter 6: Laetrile
  • "People who are desperate enough don't look very hard at the evidence."
  • "Easy non-solutions are often more attractive than hard solutions."
  • "Seven false hopes of software management."
  • "Leaning on people is counter productive and installing the latest technological doodah won't help either, then what is the manager supposed to do? The managers function is not to make people work, but to make it possible for people to do work."

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