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Last fall, I read PeopleWare, and thought "COOL.  This Is The Way It Should Be."

Then last week I read "The Practice Of Management" by Peter Drucker.  Written in 1954, it was the first book in it's genre - modern business management.  They still teach out of it at MBA and management programs.  It's a "classic."

Guess what?  I believe the principles behind "Peopleware" were clearly and consistently listed by Drucker 30 years previous.  And they are still taught in MBA school today.

Am I wrong?  And if I'm right, why don't we ... practice them in American Business today?  And maybe "Practice of Management" should make Joel's list ? ....



Matt Heusser
Monday, May 13, 2002

>>why don't we ... practice them in American Business today?<<

For the same reason that eXtreme Programming recommends a lot of well-known practices.

Just because they've been discovered and shown to work does not mean that they are universally followed.  There may need to be more pushes to make sure that they *are* followed in the future.

Brent P. Newhall
Monday, May 13, 2002

<< why don't we ... practice them in American Business today >>

I think De-Marco gives an answer - because things he's talking about have a long-term impact
that is actually hard to measure (satisfied workers, higher productivity and better products).
And this is "plain nothing" for some executives.

Pushing your workers and not following De-Marco's advices has a really attractive
kind of short-term impact (say, faster "cost-reduced" delivery or lower furniture
cost) which is "really something" for the same executives.

There are still other manages which are simply stupid for reading smart books
about right way of managing people - they think they already know it or that
there's nothing to study here ..

Evgeny Goldin
Monday, May 13, 2002

I think more fundamental is that so many managers are interested in empire building rather than production and core competencies.  I really think it is that simple.

Nat Ersoz
Monday, May 13, 2002

Out of all the companies I've worked for, I'll bet none of
the managers have ever heard of Drucker, let alone read him.  I've only come across only one MBA in the workplace
and she was the CFO.

Other than that, I think a previous poster is spot on about
too much of a focus on the short term.  The only thing that
matters is this quarter's results. 

Johnny Simmson
Monday, May 13, 2002

>I've worked for, I'll bet none of
>the managers have ever heard
>of Drucker, let alone read him.

There's a test:

Leave a copy of Drucker's "Practice of Management" and DeMarco's "PeopleWare" visible inside your cube.  See who notices ... you might be surprised.  Or not.  :-)

Matt Heusser
Monday, May 13, 2002

It's also true that many many principles of good Design (visual, conceptual, architectural, interactive) have been around for a long long time. User-centered design processes that can save time, effort, and money have also been around for some time.

Yet most places still flail around with no design process and no good approach to people management. There seem to be many areas where the obvious improvements to a process or situation stare us in the face but aren't implemented.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Taking an informal poll around my workplace, I have found that I am the only person in the company who has read either PeopleWare or any book by Drucker.


Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Perhaps they've read the books but are afraid to admit it within earshot of bosses/managers who might regard such books as a threat. Or is that too cynical?


Adrian Gilby
Wednesday, May 15, 2002

>>>... Or is that too cynical?<<<

Too cynical.

I think other posters are right.  The main problem is short term thinking, particularly among middle management.  The top executives in a company may take a long term view, but anyone below that level is thinking about how they are going to get their next promotion.

Drucker sounds interesting, so I ordered his "Principles of Management".

Thursday, May 16, 2002

You mean "Practice", not "Principles" above, right?

Incidentally (Wierd?) my father read "Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices" in his MBA program in like 1979.  (I think that's the book anyway; he still has it on his shelf.  It's a big, huge, thick red book that just says the word "Management" on it.  That's the closest amazon match I could find. :-)

He also wrote "Principles of Non-Profit Management" and a couplea others.

It's a bit dry, but if leadership & motivation is a personal passion, I think you'll find the book worth your $15.00 or so.  If you post your opinion, maybe we can get Joel to add it to his list ...

Matt Heusser
Thursday, May 16, 2002

>>>You mean "Practice", not "Principles" above, right?<<<

Oops.  Right.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

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