Ed Yourdon, one of the pioneers in software engineering, wrote "Death March" to describe the common practice of setting up a software project which is not feasible.
That is, between the time, resources, and functionality (quality) desired for the project, there is no way to complete the project successfully. Ed states that a death march is one in which one of the project parameters exceeds the norm by at least 50%.
death march project is often known by the entire project team to be virtually impossible to succeed at. To understand some of the motivation of why senior management creates death marches or why people participate in them you would need to read Ed's book.
In the previous article we showed this table:
|Friction/antagonism among team members||-12.0%||-15.0%|
|Friction/antagonism among management||-13.5%||-18.5%|
|Inadequate communications with stakeholders||-13.5%|
|Layoffs/loss of key personnel||-15.7%||-21.7%|
|Excessive schedule pressure||-16.0%||-22.5%|
excessive schedule pressure. So right at the start of the project your productivity will be down 16% and quality will be down 22.5%.
inadequate communications with stakeholders and drop the productivity 13.5% and the quality by 18.5%. Unfortunately, these effects are cumulative with the excessive schedule pressure and you will now be down 29.5% productivity and 41% on quality.
Possible Way Out
- reducing the functionality that needs to be produced
- moving back the project end date
- both reducing functionality and moving back the project end date
find another job. Hoping that somehow a successful project will result when you start off with excessive schedule pressure is futile, the mathematics shows that project failure is a virtual certainty.