With his trademark wit set free in the novel format, DeMarco centers the plot around the development of six software projects. Mr. Tompkins, a manager downsized from a giant telecommunications company, divides the huge staff of developers at his disposal into eighteen teams -- three for each of the software products to be built. The teams are of different sizes and use different methods, and they compete against one another and against an impossible deadline.
Managing these teams — with the help of numerous consultants who come to his aid — Mr. Tompkins tests the project management principles he has gathered over a lifetime. Each chapter closes with journal entries that make up the core of the eye-opening approach to management illustrated in this engaging novel.