Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency

By Tom DeMarco

Crown Business, Paperback, 9780767907699, 256pp.

Publication Date: April 9, 2002

If your company's goal is to become fast, responsive, and agile, more efficiency is not the answer--you need more slack.
Why is it that today's superefficient organizations are ailing? Tom DeMarco, a leading management consultant to both Fortune 500 and up-and-coming companies, reveals a counterintuitive principle that explains why efficiency efforts can slow a company down. That principle is the value of slack, the degree of freedom in a company that allows it to change. Implementing slack could be as simple as adding an assistant to a department and letting high-priced talent spend less time at the photocopier and more time making key decisions, or it could mean designing workloads that allow people room to think, innovate, and reinvent themselves. It means embracing risk, eliminating fear, and knowing when to go slow. Slack allows for change, fosters creativity, promotes quality, and, above all, produces growth.
With an approach that works for new- and old-economy companies alike, this revolutionary handbook debunks commonly held assumptions about real-world management, and gives you and your company a brand-new model for achieving and maintaining true effectiveness.

About the Author
Author and computer-systems consultant and analyst Tom DeMarco has published eight books and hundreds of articles on a wide range of subjects. He lives in Camden, Maine.

Praise For Slack

"An irreverent counterpoint to treatises about corporate efficiency. Brisk, compelling, and hard to put down." –Financial Executive

"Tom DeMarco goes after one of the most pervasive and pernicious myths of business--that humans are efficient the same way machines are. Slack will change the way you manage and understand your business." –David Weinberger, author of The Cluetrain Manifesto

"In times of many layoffs, shrinking staffs, vanishing 'think time,' middle managerial heads rolling, and mounting pressure to produce more faster . . . there are few limits on who can get some thoughts from [Slack].” –