Tom DeMarco is the author of sixteen published books. He has been, since its founding, a Principal of The Atlantic Systems Guild, a systems development think tank with offices in the US, Great Britain, and Germany. He is a past winner of the Jean-Dominique Warnier Prize for “lifetime contribution to the information sciences.” He is a founder and past-president of the Pop!Tech Conference, and a Fellow of the Cutter Consortium.
Tom is the author of ten books on management, organizational design, and systems development, and six works of fiction. The best-known of his books is Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency, published by Random House, Broadway Books Division. It addresses the question, Why are we all so damned busy? and offers some unsettling answers.
The classic, Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams – written with co-author Tim Lister – is now in a third edition, published by Addison Wesley in 2013. Peopleware has to date been published in eight languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin, and Simplified Chinese.
Tom and frequent co-author Tim Lister also wrote Waltzing With Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects [Dorset House]. (If you think waltzing with a bear is risky, try managing a software project.)
Tom’s 1997 book, The Deadline: A Novel About Project Management [Dorset House Press] is the story of a veteran software manager who finds he has bet his life on a project deadline. The book is about managing as though your life were on the line. Earlier works include Why Does Software Cost So Much? (And Other Puzzles of the Information Age) [Dorset House], Controlling Software Projects: Management, Measurement and Estimation, [Prentice Hall], and back in the Dark Ages, Structured Analysis and System Specification [Prentice-Hall]. He has also written more than one hundred articles and papers about management and the system development process.
Tom’s career began at Bell Telephone Laboratories where he served as part of the now-legendary ESS-1 project. In later years, he managed real-time projects for La CEGOS Informatique in Paris, and, while working for Svenska Phillips in Stockholm, was responsible for distributed on-line banking systems installed in Sweden, Holland, France and Finland. He has lectured and consulted throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, Australia and the Far East.
He has a BSEE degree from Cornell University, an M.S. from Columbia University, a diplome from the University of Paris at the Sorbonne, plus an honorary doctorate from City University London (2003). In 1999 he was elected a Fellow of the IEEE. He is the winner of the 1999 Wayne Stevens Award for his contribution to software engineering methods. He is a Visiting Scholar at the University of Maine, where he has taught three years of an undergraduate Ethics course. His consulting practice is largely focused on organizational development, software methods, and litigation support. Tom lives in Camden, Maine with his wife Sally O. Smyth.
DeMarco’s Other Side
Tom DeMarco’s most recent mainstream novel is The One-way Time Traveler, a visit to a future society controlled entirely by women. The book is available in paperback and e-book, and now as an audiobook from Audible.
Prior to that he wrote A Ruby Beam of Light, and Airship Nation, two volumes of a “gentle apocalyptic” series entitled Dark World Chronicles. Chronicles tells of the world on the brink of war when an unsettling new technology makes the weapons of war suddenly impotent. Sounds good, right? But the so-called Layton Effect also makes cars and trucks impotent, as well as planes, and guns, and bombs, and anything that depends on combustion. Could society ever go back to the simpler days of the nineteenth century? Darkword Chronicles is also available in German under the title, Als auf der Welt das Licht ausging, published by Hanser Verlag.
His earlier mainstream work of fiction is the comic novel, Dark Harbor House. It was published by Down East Books in 2001, a coming of age story that takes place in the late 1940s on an island off the coast of Maine. Lisa Alther (author of Kinflicks ) had this to say about Dark Harbor House: “I missed this book whenever I had to put it down, and rushed to get back to it.”
More recently, his collection of short stories, Lieutenant America and Miss Apple Pie, was published by Down East. This is the book that Kirkus Reviews described as “Beautifully detailed stories, bathed in warmth.”