miércoles, abril 09, 2008

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams

Si hay un libro del área de project management con el que me puedo identificar, es este. Define lo que quiero ser como profesional. Cuando lo leí sentí que me estaba redescubriendo a mí mismo. Realmente lo recomiendo a cualquier persona que le interese más el aspecto humano que técnico de la ingeniería de software, ya que los autores (Tom DeMarco y Tim Lister) afirman lo siguiente:

“The major problems of our work are not so much technological as sociological in nature.”

Y estoy de acuerdo con esa afirmación. Este libro incluye temas como química de equipos, tiempos de trabajo, espacios de trabajo, temas políticos, el efecto de sonidos altos en el ambiente de trabajo y el alto costo de perder personal en una empresa, entre otros.

Realmente muy entretenido de leer, con decenas de experiencias personales. Si tuviese que darle un puntaje, se saca un diez.
Les dejo una parte donde escribe sobre el "Overtime", un mal que nos está atacando bastante últimamente. El autor da las razones por lo cual esto no es bueno:

Overtime for salaried workers is a figment of the naive manager's imagination. Oh, there might be some benefit in a few extra hours worked on Saturday to meet a Monday deadline, but that's almost always followed by an equal period of compensatory "undertime" while the workers catch up with their lives. Throughout the effort there will be more or less an hour of undertime for every hour of overtime. The trade-off might work to your advantage for the short term, but for the long term it will cancel out.
Just as the unpaid overtime was largely invisible to the Spanish Theory manager (who always counts the week as forty hours regardless of how much time the people put in), so too is the undertime invisible. You never see it on anybody's time sheet. It's time spent on the phone or in bull sessions or just resting. Nobody can really work much more than forty hours, at least not continually and with the level of intensity required for creative work. Overtime is like sprinting: It makes some sense for the last hundred yards of the marathon for those with any energy left, but if you start sprinting in the first mile, you're just wasting time. Trying to get people to sprint too much can only result in loss of respect for the manager. The best workers have been through it all before; they know enough to keep silent and roll their eyes while the manager raves on that the job has got to get done by April. Then they take their compensatory undertime when they can, and end up putting in forty hours of real work each week. The best workers react that way; the others are workaholics.
Luego continua hablando sobre los "workaholics":

Workaholics will put in uncompensated overtime. They'll work extravagant hours, though perhaps with declining effectiveness. Put them under enough pressure and they will go a long way toward spoiling their personal lives. But only for a while. Sooner or later the message comes through to even the most dedicated workaholic. Once that idea is digested, the worker is lost forever after to the project. The realization that one has sacrificed a more important value (family, love, home, youth) for a less important value (work) is devastating. It makes the person who has unwittingly sacrificed seek revenge. He doesn't go to the boss and explain calmly and thoughtfully that things have to change in the future—he just quits, another case of burnout. One way or the other, he's gone.

Workaholism is an illness, but not an illness like alcoholism that affects only the unlucky few. Workaholism is more like the common cold: Everyone has a bout of it now and then. Our purpose in writing about it here is not so much to discuss its causes and cures, but to address the simpler problem of how you, the manager, ought to deal with your workaholics. If you exploit them to the hilt in typical Spanish Theory fashion, you'll eventually lose them. No matter how desperately you need them to put in all those hours, you can't let them do so at the expense of their personal lives. The loss of a good person isn't worth it. This point goes beyond the narrow area of workaholism, into the much more complex subject of meaningful productivity.

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