Our Blog Excerpts Savings Contact


Dorset House Publishing
High-Quality Books on Software Engineering and Management.  Since 1984.
dorsethouse.com > titles


iDH Sign-Up

Get Our e-News
Delivered by FeedBurner

Why Does Software Cost So Much?
(And Other Puzzles of the Information Age)

by Tom DeMarco

ISBN: 978-0-932633-34-7  
©1995  248 pages   softcover  
$29.95 (plus shipping)

Subject(s): Software Engineering, Software Industry, Software Metrics, Software Project Management

*For UPS Ground within U.S. only.
For more info., or for Int.'l or rush orders, click here.

Rate this

Twenty-Four Provocative Essays from
Legendary Author and Consultant Tom DeMarco

About the Book

Known for his ability to find provocative answers to the most puzzling questions of software development, Peopleware coauthor Tom DeMarco explores a wide range of issues in twenty-four masterful essays.

The offerings range from the wise to the kooky—in fact, many of them defy categorization. But all are marked by the author's eye-opening perspectives on topics that demand your professional attention.

Drawing together several essays published previously in such journals as IEEE Software and American Programmer, plus ten all-new papers never seen beyond his circle of colleagues, Tom DeMarco tackles a multitude of tough subjects and wrestles fresh insight out of them. Here's a compact, compelling edition of this acclaimed consultant's views on managing the software process.

Subjects include management-aided engineering, documentation, desktop video, productivity, software factories, teams, measurement, icons, and more!

Insights from the book:

"Management is a set of catalytic activities that enable people to work productively and happily. Like a catalyst in chemistry, the manager's contribution is not iself transformed into product, but it i entirely necessary for the transformation of others' efforts into product."

 —from Essay 5

"I think factory methods for software are dead wrong, witless, and counter-effective. Organizations that build good software know that software is an R&D activity, not a production activity. Organizations that try to make it into a production activity produce bad software (thought potentially lots of it ). . . ."

 —from the introduction to Essay 12

Essays Include

  • Why Does Software Cost So Much?
  • Mad About Measurement
  • Software Productivity: The Covert Agenda
  • The Choir and the Team
  • Management-Aided Software Engineering (with Sheila Brady of Apple Computer)
  • Lean and Mean
  • Software Development: State of the Art vs. State of the Practice (with Tim Lister)
  • Twenty Years of Software Engineering: Looking Forward, Looking Back
  • "If We Did Only One Thing to Improve . . ."
  • —plus fifteen more!


". . . absolutely dynamite!"

Roger S. Pressman
IEEE Software

"This book should be presented as a graduation present to all senior computer science majors. And they should be forced to read it before they receive their diplomas."

 —Charles Ashbacher
Charles Ashbacher Technologies
Mathematics and Computer Education

". . . a collection of delightful essays about software engineering."

 —Ron Jeffries

"Very provocative but absolutely grounded in the reality of experience, DeMarco's perspectives apply across the continuum of innovation management—not just software. His essay 'Mad about Measurement,' on the managerial misapplication of productivity measures, should be read by anyone who's ever had to oversee a reengineering or 'change management' initiative."

 —Michael Schrage
Across the Board

". . . provocative . . . will force you to think. . . . the book is well worth reading."

 —Paul Gray
Information Systems Management

"I can confidently assure you that you'll receive a minimum of 24 'Aha's' and well over 24 laughs by the time you finish Why Does Software Cost So Much? . . . a well-chosen 'Aha' is worth hundreds, thousands, or even a million dollars to a software organization."

 —Ed Yourdon
American Programmer

"Tom DeMarco is a master of the essay. The 24 essays in his latest book demonstrate his skill, exploring a range of issues facing the computing industry. DeMarco's style is unique and can best be described as a brilliant combination of honesty and 'damn the torpedoes' philosophy. DeMarco's book is abuzz with ideas, alive with whimsical anecdotes, and full of concerns for a computing industry not quite on the right path. . . .

"I could rave nonstop about how great 'The Choir and the Team' and 'Rock and Roll and Cola War' and all the other essays are, but you really must read them yourself. You may not agree with every one, but you will certainly be amused, educated, and stimulated by DeMarco's romp through topics such as corporate politics, sociology, elementary education, video complexity, why Macintoshes are better than IBM-compatible personal computers, and a retrospective look at structured analysis. Enjoy the ride."

 —Alan M. Davis
Editor-in-Chief, IEEE Software

"Tom's writing can be likened to a pebble dropped into a pond—it makes the reader's mind move in expanding circles from a specific topic to a more general conclusion.

". . . The main value of the book is that it does not just repeat the common aphorisms of the software world, but takes a hard look at which ones are based on reality and which ones seem to have emerged from hot air."

 —Capers Jones
Chairman, Software Productivity Research, Inc.

Table of Contents

Dorset House Catalog
This Book's Flyer

By this Author
The Deadline: A Novel About Project Management
Software State-of-the-Art: Selected Papers

Also Recommended

Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations, by Robert D. Austin

The One Minute Methodology, by Ken Orr

Productivity Sand Traps & Tar Pits: How to Detect and Avoid Them, by Mike Walsh

Software Productivity, by Harlan D. Mills

Software Shock: The Danger & the Opportunity, by Roger S. Pressman and S. Russell Herron

How to Order

To order this book by credit card directly from Dorset House in New York, please call (800) 342-6657 or (212) 620-4053, weekdays, 9am to 6pm. Alternatively, print out our Faxable Order Form and fax to (212) 727-1044.

To order this book from an online bookstore, please see above.

To purchase at a bookstore, contact our Recommended Booksellers to verify availability. Any store can order from Dorset House using the book's title and ISBN number. Also, bookstores can order our books through Baker & Taylor.

We'd like to make it easy for you to order, so please contact us at any time for help!

New:3143 Broadway, Suite 2B  New York, New York 10027  USA
1-800-DH-BOOKS or 212-620-4053, fax 212-727-1044
Copyright © 1996-2008 by Dorset House Publishing Co., Inc. All rights reserved.
Home | Blog | Savings | Stores | Features | Titles | Authors | Subjects | Orders | About | Contact | Legal