Death march projects are becoming increasingly common in the software industry. The symptoms are obvious: The project schedule, budget, and staff are about half of what is necessary for completion. The planned feature set is unrealistic. People are working 14 hours a day, six or seven days a week, and stress is taking its toll. The project has a high risk of failure, yet management is either blind to the situation or has no alternative. Why do these irrational projects happen, and what, other than pure idiocy, leads people to get involved in them?
Edward Yourdon has produced a wise and highly readable book on the entire death march phenomenon and the best way to steer through one. He takes a close look at the types of projects that often become death marches and the corporate politics and culture that typically produce them; Yourdon helps you examine your own motivations and those of corporate managers who enable death marches to take shape.
Much of Death March is about the human element of highly stressful projects. The author's plain-spoken observations on the dysfunctional organization--the Machiavellian politics, naive optimism, lust for power, fear, and sheer managerial stupidity that guide so many death marches--make for a refreshing change from other project management books. You'll also find much practical advice to help you survive, everything from negotiating with upper management to breathing life into faltering projects. He'll even help you determine if you should look for another job.
If you've ever worked in a death march situation or been a client of a company addicted to death march management, this book will help you understand what happened. More importantly, it will help you prepare for future encounters with death marches. Death March is highly recommended for anyone involved in software development.