Death March

Death March

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Historically, all software projects have involved a certain degree of risk and pressure -- but many of the projects in today's chaotic business environment involve such intense pressure that they are referred to colloquially as "death-march" projects -- i.e., projects whose schedules are so compressed, and/or whose budgets, or resource (people) assignments are so constrained, that the only "obvious" way to succeed is for the entire team to work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no vacations until the project is finished. While the corporate goal of such projects is to overcome impossible odds and achieve miracles, the personal goal of the project manager and team members often shrinks down to mere survival: keeping one's job, maintaining some semblance of a relationship with one's spouse and children, and avoiding a heart attack or ulcer. This new and thoroughly-updated edition of Ed Yourdon's book takes into account many of the changes that have taken place in the more than six years since the publication of the first edition.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 177 x 234 x 14mm | 408g
  • Prentice Hall
  • Upper Saddle River, United States
  • English
  • 2nd edition
  • 013143635X
  • 9780131436350
  • 449,177

Back cover copy

Death March Second Edition

The #1 guide to surviving "doomed" projects...Fully updated and expanded, with powerful new techniques!

At an alarming rate, companies continue to create death-march projects, repeatedly! What's worse is the amount of rational, intelligent people who sign up for a death-march projectsaeprojects whose schedules, estimations, budgets, and resources are so constrained or skewed that participants can hardly survive, much less succeed. In Death March, Second Edition, Ed Yourdon sheds new light on the reasons why companies spawn Death Marches and provides you with guidance to identify and survive death march projects.

Yourdon covers the entire project lifecycle, systematically addressing every key issue participants face: politics, people, process, project management, and tools. No matter what your role--developer, project leader, line-of-business manager, or CxO--you'll find realistic, usable solutions. This edition's new and updated coverage includes:

Creating Mission Impossible projects out of DM projects Negotiating your project's conditions: making the best of a bad situation XP, agile methods, and death march projects Time management for teams: eliminating distractions that can derail your project "Critical chain scheduling": identifying and eliminating organizational dysfunction Predicting the "straw that breaks the camel's back": lessons from system dynamics Choosing tools and methodologies most likely to work in your environment Project "flight simulators": wargaming your next project Applying triage to deliver the features that matter most When it's time to walk away

This isn't a book about perfectly organized projects in "textbook" companies. It's about your project, in your company. But you won't just recognize your reality: you'll learn exactly what to do about it.
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Table of contents


1. Introduction.

Death March Defined.

Categories of Death March Projects.

Why Do Death March Projects Happen?

Politics, Politics, Politics.

Naive Promises Made by Marketing, Senior Executives, Naive Project Managers, and So on.

Naive Optimism Of Youth: "We Can Do It Over the Weekend".

The "Startup" Mentality of Fledgling Entrepreneurial Companies.

The "Marine Corps" Mentality: Real Programmers Don't Need Sleep.

Intense Competition Caused by Globalization of Markets.

Intense Competition Caused by the Appearance of New Technologies.

Intense Pressure Caused by Unexpected Government Regulations.

Unexpected and/or Unplanned Crises.

Why Do People Participate in Death March Projects?

The Risks Are High, but So Are the Rewards.

The "Mt Everest" Syndrome.

The Naivete and Optimism of Youth.

The Alternative Is Unemployment.

It's Required in Order to Be Considered for Future Advancement.

The Alternative Is Bankruptcy or Some Other Calamity.

It's an Opportunity to Escape the "Normal" Bureaucracy.




2. Politics.

Identifying the Political Players in the Project.






Determining the Basic Nature of the Project.

Levels of Commitment by Project Participants.

Analyzing Key Issues that Lead to Political Disagreements.



3. Negotiations.

Rational Negotiations.

Identifying Acceptable Tradeoffs.

Negotiating Games.

Negotiating Strategies.

What To Do When Negotiating Fails.



4. People in Death March Projects.

Hiring and Staffing Issues.

Loyalty, Commitment, Motivation, and Rewards.

Rewarding Project Team Members.

The Issue of Overtime.

The Importance of Communication.

Team-Building Issues.

Workplace Conditions for Death March Project.




5. Death March Processes.

The Concept OF Triage.

The Importance OF Requirements Management.

SEI, ISO-9000 and Formal Versus Informal Processes.

Good-Enough Software.

Best Practices and Worst Practices.

Death March Meets XP.




6. The Dynamics of Processes.

Models of Software Development Processes.

Mental Models.

Spreadsheet Models.

Static Versus Dynamic Models.

Visual Models.

An Example: Tarek Abdel-Hamid's Software Process Model.

Summary and Conclusions.



7. Critical-Chain Scheduling and the Theory of Constraints.


What Organizational Behaviors are Dysfunctional?

How Can We Change Dysfunctional Organizational Behavior?

Life in a Rational World.

Critical-Chain Scheduling.




8. Time Management.

The Impact of Corporate Culture On Time Management.

Time Slippage from Stakeholder Disagreements.

Helping the Project Team Make Better Use of Time.


9. Managing and Controlling Progress.

The "Daily Build" Concept.

Risk Management.

Additional Ideas for Monitoring Progress: Milestone Reviews.



10. Death March Tools and Technology.

The Minimal Toolset.

Tools and Process.

Risks of Choosing New Tools.




11. Simulators and "War Games".


The Concept of War Games.




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About Edward Yourdon

EDWARD YOURDON has been called one of the ten most influential people in software, and has been inducted into the Computer Hall of Fame alongside Charles Babbage, Seymour Cray, James Martin, Grace Hopper, and Bill Gates. An internationally recognized consultant, he is author or coauthor of more than 25 books, including Byte Wars, Managing High-Intensity Internet Projects, and Decline and Fall of the American Programmer. He co-developed the popular Coad/Yourdon methodology, co-founded the influential Cutter Consortium Business Technology Council, and serves on the Board of Directors of iGate and Mascot Systems.
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Rating details

757 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 30% (227)
4 36% (269)
3 25% (193)
2 6% (48)
1 3% (20)
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