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Topic for February:
Date: February 21, 2006
Topic: "Velocity -- Making Yourself Fast"
Speaker: Tom DeMarco


Quick or Dead: Organizational Velocity for an Impatient World

Tom DeMarco offers a new and chilling look at the way slow organizations work and often fail to work, as well as a practical prescription to turn them around and make them hum. He confronts major complaints of this impatient age: late projects, work forever in catch-up mode, the paradox that in an era of “Hurry Up,” companies are slowing down, sometimes almost grinding to a stop. Most of all points toward a unique approach to achieving true organizational velocity.

About the Speaker

Tom DeMarco is a Principal of the Atlantic Systems Guild, a systems think tank with offices in the U.S., Germany and Great Britain. 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.

Mr. DeMarco is the author of nine books on management, organizational design, and systems development. The most recent is called Waltzing With Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects, written with co-author Tim Lister. (If you think waltzing with a bear is risky, try managing a software project.) Before that there was Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency, published by Random House, Broadway Books Division, in 2002. It addresses the question, Why are we all so damned busy? and offers some unsettling answers.

In 1997, he wrote The Deadline: A Novel About Project Management [Dorset House Press], 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. Mr. DeMarco's earlier works include Why Does Software Cost So Much? (And Other Puzzles of the Information Age) [Dorset House, 1995], the classic, PEOPLEWARE: Productive Projects and Teams (with co-author Tim Lister) now in a second edition [Dorset, 1999], Controlling Software Projects: Management, Measurement and Estimation, [Prentice Hall, 1982], Structured Analysis and System Specification [Prentice-Hall, 1979], and more than one hundred articles and papers about management and the system development process.

Mr. DeMarco'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 France, and 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.

Mr. DeMarco 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 Doctor of Science from City University London (2003). In 1999 he was elected a Fellow of the IEEE. He is the winner of the 1999 Stevens Award for his contribution to software engineering methods. His first work of mainstream fiction, a comic novel called Dark Harbor House, was published by Down East Books in the Spring of 2001. His short story collection, Lieutenant America and Miss Apple Pie was published in 2003. He makes his home in Camden, Maine.

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