Death Marches

I found myself googling for Fred Brooks earlier today (after fellow blosxom blogger Charlie Stross called him “Ted Brooks” and I was making sure I wasn’t crazy in correcting him). That googling led me to Ed Yourdon’s site, a developer, consultant and speaker on software issues of whom I had previously never heard. On one page he was discussing Brooks’ Mythical Man-Month, which is the one I found. By browsing around the site, I got interested in Ed Yourdon’s stuff. One very interesting looking book is his Death March which he is updating and has portions online. It is all about those kinds of projects which are familiar to some of us, the kind where the esimation process was done poorly or not at all and now the deadline must be met even though it is unrealistic. When the only way to achieve the goal is for everyone to work 100 hours a week, you are in a death march. For extra SFnal dorkiness, he opens his introduction with a quote from Jubal Harshaw, in Heinlein’s To Sail Beyond the Sunset. He appears to be a true blue SF fan. I’ll be reading his working chapters over the next few days.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

4 thoughts on “Death Marches”

  1. Shannon says:

    Oh, yes, Ed Yourdon is a well known name in SW Engineering. I remember reading/workshopping some Yourdon course that the SC developer team did back in ’91. I think I finally dumped all those notebooks a couple years ago…

  2. Dave says:

    As I look over his stuff, it’s all right up my alley and all material I am interested in. I don’t know exactly how I have missed it all this time.

  3. jonny says:

    It seems ed has been on a death march lately. i have been promised there will be no death march at my work, they have held true so far and get angry when i suggest that i could work on the weekend

  4. Dave says:

    Remember how ambitious our publishing project was, how much work it entailed, and how few nights and weekends we worked? The only big night was that last Saturday when everyone was trying to reach the milestone so that I could finally leave town and rejoin my wife. Other than that, we hit our marks everywhere along the way, all the way to the end. We were never more than 2 days off the plan and it all just rocked. I know that these things can be done without working 23 hour days, but it does require doing the grownup work of getting the shit together first. That’s where it breaks down usually. It certainly does at my job, where no one wants to do the boring work of organizing or when they do it is pathetic.

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