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Death March (YOURDON Press Series) / Edition 2
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Death March (YOURDON Press Series) / Edition 2

3.0 3
by Edward Yourdon

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ISBN-10: 013143635X

ISBN-13: 9780131436350

Pub. Date: 12/06/2003

Publisher: Prentice Hall

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,


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.

Product Details

Prentice Hall
Publication date:
Yourdon Press Series
Edition description:
Second Edition
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

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 Naiveté 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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Death March 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story of my life
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is going to be as influential as 'The Mythical Man-Month'. Yourdon tackles some issues that need to be addressed in the modern software development industry. He does offer some insightful analysis as to why things get as bad as they do, and his strategies and recommendations are useful. However, this book is typical of 'guru' books in that there's enough useful information in it for few brilliant articles, but not enough to fill a whole book. The book is 230 pages long but a good quarter of it is verbatim copy of E-mails Mr. Yourdon received from other contributors. It is right and appropriate for him to cite his sources, but there has to be a better way of doing it. There's also a fair bit of filler material: white space, bulleted lists, diagrams, and unnecessary repetition. The writing is cumbersome, such that if there's a choice between a simple word and a complex word ('use' and 'utilize', for example) Yourdon picks the bigger word every time as if he's getting paid by the letter. The personal anecdotes and stories are interesting, but I buy technical books for useful content, not to 'chew the fat' with the author.