Review: Peopleware, Productive Projects and Teams

PeoplewareHere we go for a review of Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, 2013 (1st edition in 1987) by Tom DeMarco, Tim Lister. Another long overdue review since I read the book twice again since I first decided to write this review.

This is a book about teams of software developers, what makes them produce exceptional software and how (for the management) to avoid being in their way of such a noble aim. To me, this is also the logical sequel to the Mythical Man Month (reviewed here a few years ago).

The core idea is that developing a software product is an intellectual work (of communication and reflection) in an environment (market and technology) that is changing fast.

I would group the other main ideas in the following categories:

  • software projects are unlike traditional ones
  • teams and motivations
  • creativity and change management

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New Year’s Python Meme

Following the recent and timely revival of Tarek Ziadé’s New Year’s Python Meme by Alex Clark and Daniel Greenfeld, and also to mark the addition of this blog to the Python planet, here is my version of the meme for 2013.

What’s the coolest Python application, framework or library you discovered this year?

After having heard a lot about them, this year I had the occasion to actually use the following tools:

Even if it isn’t a discovery strictly speaking, I was also glad to find out that someone took over the maintenance of feedfinder.

And last but not least I recently used PhotoFloat a very promising project to generate photo galleries, especially because like the author of this library I think zenphoto has somehow lost its zen.

What new programming technique did you learn this year?

A few months ago I gave a quick try at TDD with my toy project baciphacs.

But most importantly 2013 was the year when I dived into web application development with my long term personal project wateronmars.

Which open source project did you contribute to the most this year? What did you do?

Quite selfishly the two open source projects I contributed the most were mine:

  • wateronmars (AGPL) went from its year long state of blue prints and prototype code snippets to a fully functional web application deployable by anybody interested and with a demo site on heroku. Oh and by the way it’s yet another news reader with the ambition to merge news reading and bookmark collection into a single workflow to become ultimately a personal web-surfing platform.
  • yapsy (BSD) the Python plugin system with a couple of bug fixes and especially the last fix to the packaging of both the Python2 and 3 sources of this library.

By the way, I’m always welcoming contributions and contributors for these projects :)

Which Python blogs, websites, or mailing lists did you read the most this year?

What are the top three things you want to learn next year?

  • The 11th color of C++ for which I already know the big picture but I lack the practical knowledge
  • Machine Learning (at least a bit more than the practical experience I had in my previous job in a document analysis and text recognition company).
  • Holger Dansk’s language, how to wake him up and collaborate with him (and in case you missed it a new edition of Peopleware was published in 2013).

What is the top software, application or library you wish someone would write next year?

Huh… This year I’ve seen so many good apps and libraries doing exactly what I needed to (in Python and in javascript especially), that I’m not sure what’s THE missing thing right now.

I guess anything that would make it easy for me to recover stuff (adress books, pictures), from the silos of the big social sites would help.

But to be honest all my wishes currently go to wateronmars that could still be extended with functionalities like a pump (as in pump.io) or a way to mix result from famous search engines with one’s bookmark collection and more generally with anything already listed on the development site.