Can Agile beat the ‘inevitable’ Death March…Discuss

Posted: August 17, 2010 in Agile
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Having worked on various projects over the years, with the main driver being time to market pressures, I thought that working as part of an Agile team, the days of the death march were over as we agree our work packages upfront.

Currently, I am working on a project that is going all out to meet the deadline, at the expense of agile approach. Though it has it’s moments of chaos, the job is getting done.

This leads me to the topic of this post. What are people’s views on the death march approach, is it an inevitable consequence of changing business demands? Or can agile fight it’s corner and prove it’s flexibility, to deliver to change in focus?

All comments / views welcome

  1. Anthony says:

    The story line for Holby City last night had a strand about Self Harm.
    While I don’t want to belittle this disorder it is interesting to read about the factors that lead people to do it.
    Wiki –
    “The motivations for self-harm vary and may be used to fulfill a number of different functions. These functions include self-harm being used as a coping mechanism which provides temporary relief of intense feelings such as anxiety, depression, stress, emotional numbness and a sense of failure or self-loathing. Self-harm is often associated with a history of trauma and abuse including emotional abuse, sexual abuse, drug dependence, eating disorders, or mental traits such as low self-esteem or perfectionism.”

    Do we move towards the death march because it provides a stream of coping mechanisms that allow us to deal with the stress of a project in the short term?

    Maybe or maybe not, but I do believe that there are more factors involved than just changing business demands.

    • dsearle says:

      Anthony, thanks for the analogy, I like the line regarding the ‘providing a stream of coping mechanisms’.

      I agree that there are many more factors than just changing business demands. I guess the important thing here is how you get out of the death march, once the perceived short term gain is achieved or conversely, and perhaps more concerning; if the switch compounds the problem, what options do you have left?


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