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Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams, Third Edition by Tim Lister, Tom DeMarco

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5. Parkinson’s Law Revisited

Writing in 1954, the British author C. Northcote Parkinson introduced the notion that work expands to fill the time allocated for it, now known as Parkinson’s Law.

If you didn’t know that few managers receive any management training at all, you might think there was a school they all went to for an intensive course on Parkinson’s Law and its ramifications. Even managers that know they know nothing about management nonetheless cling to that one axiomatic truth governing people and their attitude toward work: Parkinson’s Law. It gives them the strongest possible conviction that the only way to get work done at all is to set an impossibly optimistic delivery date.

Parkinson’s Law and Newton’s Law

Parkinson’s Law is ...

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