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Discussion on: Death Marches Aren't Worth It

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ericschillerdev profile image
Unfrozen Caveman Dev

All of this. My last gig was a couple years of a long project leading to a death march. I missed the first death march, since I was on a different piece of the project that wasn't deploying, and had a newborn at home. Against all odds, they deployed something on time.

Where I got hit is Death March II: Production Support from Hell. When I agreed to be the lead on keeping this thing running in production, I inherited some devs. who'd been just rolling off the death march, as they were the experts, and had to ask these poor guys to now help me support a (surprise surprise) buggy system that now had serious production implications riding on it (in one case -- the company was going to lose a major industry certification due to a longstanding bug not sending notifications externally). Not their fault it had bugs -- due to all the reasons you mention above, in addition to the usual "bugs" that are really the users not having tested enough or hitting edge cases nobody had thought about after go live.

It was too much for me, and I knew better than working in this environment, so I left with no job prospects in sight. Those two death marches combined left a lot of bad morale in the team, and ultimately, the company lost a senior employee with a lot of project knowledge.

Don't do death marches.