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Peopleware Papers: Notes on the Human Side of Software, The by Larry L. Constantine

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Chapter 30. In-Time Delivery

Our Alitalia flight from Boston to Rome departed late, just as we had been told to expect. Nevertheless, it landed in time for us to catch the direct train for Firenze, where we would have a few days to be pleasantly overwhelmed by the art, the food, and the wines of Tuscany before returning to Rome to teach a class on designing more usable software.

Note that I did not say that our plane landed “on time,” but rather “in time.” It's a subtle distinction in words, but a cultural matter of great import. Arriving at 6:30 for a 6:30 reception is being “on time.” Arriving when the line at the bar has diminished and they bring out the hot hors d'oeuvres is being “in time.” In time means functional timeliness. As for the Italians, ...

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