Tim Lister

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Tim Lister

Tim Lister (born 1949) is an American software engineer and author with specialty in design, software risk management, and human aspects of technological work. He is a Principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild Inc. and a fellow of the Cutter Consortium. [1]



Lister's work with collaborator Tom DeMarco on non-technical factors affecting team and individual performance eventually resulted in their book, Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams [2] originally published in 1987. This work was the subject of a retrospective special session of IEEE International Conference on Software 2007 commemorating 20th anniversary of its publication. [3] Peopleware's prescriptions had mixed reception, with environmental factors like relative quiet and interrupt protection generally accepted, but other suggestions, particularly the use of enclosed space around a team in preference to open plan seating, largely ignored. [4] The authors' Coding War Games study [5] which supplies evidence for the book's conclusions about the effects of workplace factors on performance is still being cited in articles about workplace design [6] [7] more than 25 years after its initial publication. The term "Peopleware" is in general use [8] [9] [10] among software practitioners to describe the extent to which an organization does or not conform to the book's proposed ideals.

Patterns of organizational behavior

Lister is one of the originators of work [11] that characterizes organizational culture using an approach first advocated (for architecture) by Christopher Alexander et al. [12] In this scheme, organizations are classified by the extent to which they fit or do not fit one or more of 86 common patterns. The 86 proposed patterns serve as an organizational "pattern language" [12] much as Alexander's 250 patterns make up an architectural pattern language.

Published works

Lister is author or co-author of the following works:

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pair programming</span> Collaborative technique for software development

Pair programming is a software development technique in which two programmers work together at one workstation. One, the driver, writes code while the other, the observer or navigator, reviews each line of code as it is typed in. The two programmers switch roles frequently.

In computer programming and software design, code refactoring is the process of restructuring existing computer code—changing the factoring—without changing its external behavior. Refactoring is intended to improve the design, structure, and/or implementation of the software, while preserving its functionality. Potential advantages of refactoring may include improved code readability and reduced complexity; these can improve the source code's maintainability and create a simpler, cleaner, or more expressive internal architecture or object model to improve extensibility. Another potential goal for refactoring is improved performance; software engineers face an ongoing challenge to write programs that perform faster or use less memory.

<i>The Mythical Man-Month</i> 1975 software engineering book by Fred Brooks

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering is a book on software engineering and project management by Fred Brooks first published in 1975, with subsequent editions in 1982 and 1995. Its central theme is that adding manpower to a software project that is behind schedule delays it even longer. This idea is known as Brooks's law, and is presented along with the second-system effect and advocacy of prototyping.

Brooks' law is an observation about software project management according to which adding manpower to a software project that is behind schedule delays it even longer. It was coined by Fred Brooks in his 1975 book The Mythical Man-Month. According to Brooks, under certain conditions, an incremental person when added to a project makes it take more, not less time.

An anti-pattern in software engineering, project management, and business processes is a common response to a recurring problem that is usually ineffective and risks being highly counterproductive. The term, coined in 1995 by computer programmer Andrew Koenig, was inspired by the book Design Patterns and first published in his article in the Journal of Object-Oriented Programming. A further paper in 1996 presented by Michael Ackroyd at the Object World West Conference also documented anti-patterns.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to software engineering:

In computer programming, a software framework is an abstraction in which software, providing generic functionality, can be selectively changed by additional user-written code, thus providing application-specific software. It provides a standard way to build and deploy applications and is a universal, reusable software environment that provides particular functionality as part of a larger software platform to facilitate the development of software applications, products and solutions.

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Founder's syndrome is the difficulty faced by organizations, and in particular young companies such as start-ups, where one or more founders maintain disproportionate power and influence following the effective initial establishment of the organization, leading to a wide range of problems. The syndrome occurs in both non-profit and for-profit organizations or companies.

Tom DeMarco is an American software engineer, author, and consultant on software engineering topics. He was an early developer of structured analysis in the 1970s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Structured analysis and design technique</span>

Structured analysis and design technique (SADT) is a systems engineering and software engineering methodology for describing systems as a hierarchy of functions. SADT is a structured analysis modelling language, which uses two types of diagrams: activity models and data models. It was developed in the late 1960s by Douglas T. Ross, and was formalized and published as IDEF0 in 1981.

Malicious compliance is the behavior of strictly following the orders of a superior despite knowing that compliance with the orders will have an unintended or negative result. It usually implies following an order in such a way that ignores or otherwise undermines the order's intent, but follows it to the letter. A form of passive-aggressive behavior, it is often associated with poor management-labor relationships, micromanagement, a generalized lack of confidence in leadership, and resistance to changes perceived as pointless, duplicative, dangerous, or otherwise undesirable. It is common in organizations with top-down management structures lacking morale, leadership or mutual trust. In U.S. law, this practice has been theorized as a form of uncivil obedience, and it is a technique which is also used in art practice.

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams is a 1987 book on the social side of software development, specifically managing project teams. It was written by software consultants Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister, from their experience in the world of software development. This book was revised in 2013.

<i>Decline and Fall of the American Programmer</i> Book by Edward Yourdon

Decline and Fall of the American Programmer is a book written by Edward Yourdon in 1992. It was addressed to American programmers and software organizations of the 1990s, warning that they were about to be driven out of business by programmers in other countries who could produce software more cheaply and with higher quality. Yourdon claimed that American software organizations could only retain their edge by using technologies such as ones he described in the book. Yourdon gave examples of how non-American—specifically Indian and Japanese—companies were making use of these technologies to produce high-quality software.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Structured analysis</span>

In software engineering, structured analysis (SA) and structured design (SD) are methods for analyzing business requirements and developing specifications for converting practices into computer programs, hardware configurations, and related manual procedures.

Programming productivity describes the degree of the ability of individual programmers or development teams to build and evolve software systems. Productivity traditionally refers to the ratio between the quantity of software produced and the cost spent for it. Here the delicacy lies in finding a reasonable way to define software quantity.

The bus factor is a measurement of the risk resulting from information and capabilities not being shared among team members, derived from the phrase "in case they get hit by a bus". It is also known as the bus problem, truck factor, or bus/truck number.

Peopleware is a term used to refer to one of the three core aspects of computer technology, the other two being hardware and software. Peopleware can refer to anything that has to do with the role of people in the development or use of computer software and hardware systems, including such issues as developer productivity, teamwork, group dynamics, the psychology of programming, project management, organizational factors, human interface design, and human–machine interaction.

Hands-on management is a particular style of management where the manager or person in charge is particularly active in day-to-day business and leadership. It is not to be confused with micromanagement and is seen as the opposite of Laissez-faire management style.


  1. Cutter Consortium: Our Experts
  2. DeMarco, T. & T. Lister. Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams. Addison-Wesely, 2013.
  3. ICSE 2008 Session: Retrospectives on Peopleware
  4. Peopleware by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister - Twenty Years On
  5. "Programmer Performance and the Effects of the Workplace," with co-author Tom DeMarco, Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Software Engineering, IEEE Computer Society, 1985.
  6. Cain, Susan, "The Rise of the New Groupthink" The New York Times, January 13, 2012
  7. Groth, Aimee, "Why An Open Office Environment Can Totally Kill Creativity," Business Insider , January, 2012
  8. Programmers' Tagged Questions
  9. Peopleware: the human parameter as the critical success factor of outsourcing, from Outsource Magazine, June, 2011 Archived 2014-01-08 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Factors for Software Project Quality
  11. Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies: Understanding Patterns of Project Behavior with co-authors Tom DeMarco, Peter Hruschka, Steve McMenamin, James Robertson and Suzanne Robertson, Dorset House (March, 2008)
  12. 1 2 Alexander, Christopher. A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for Environmental Structure Series), Oxford University Press (1977)
  13. Demarco, Tom; Lister, Timothy R. (2013). Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams. ISBN   978-0321934116.
  14. Tim Lister; Tom DeMarco; Peter Hruschka; Steve McMenamin; James Robertson; Suzanne Robertson. Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zombies (PDF).
  15. Tom DeMarco, Peter Hruschka, Tim Lister; Steve McMenamin; James Robertson; Suzanne Robertson (July 15, 2013). Adrenaline Junkies and Template Zomb. Addison-Wesley. p. 248. ISBN   9780133492279.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister (2003). Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risk on Software Project. Dorset House. ISBN   0932633609.
  17. "Proceedings, Agile Development Conference (ADC'05) July, 2005".
  18. "Risk Management Is Project Management for Adults". IEEE Software. May 1997.
  19. Tom DeMarco & Tim Lister (August 1985). Programmer performance and the effects of the workplace. pp. 268–272. ISBN   0-8186-0620-7.