Change has become the organizational mantra in today’s fast-paced and increasingly global marketplace. But too often this need to change and adapt is confused with keeping employees busy all of the time and achieving total efficiency.

Constant overtime and aggressive schedules are symptomatic of the “Hurry Up” organization. Efficiency is pitted against effectiveness, mini- mizing cost against minimizing time. Middle management has been squeezed so that there is less management and more “on task” efforts.

What gets lost in this “Hurry Up” organization is the time it takes to think up new procedures or products; in other words, slack. In today’s knowledge-based economy, unlike the factory-based model of prior centuries, creative management of slack is essential for a healthy, growing organization. In this summary, Tom DeMarco explores some of the most common, die-hard management theories (Total efficiency, Management by Objective, Internal Competition) and shows how they are inappropriate for today’s knowledge-worker-based economy. He then shows how to create productive slack in your organization.