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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ship It! - 5.16 We're on a "Death March" Project

First, create a new project schedule. Use The List, and put time estimates on each item. Be sure these are realistic time estimates, not Death March estimates. Work with your tech lead to get the priorities correct and in line with management. Second, with the time estimates on The List, put together a time line for the project. Publicize this schedule. Put it on your white board or your web site. Often schedule makers create time lines simply because they don’t understand the work involved. Help them understand. Once you have a better idea of how much work you can reasonably accomplish, show the time line to your manager. Tell them you think the project is in trouble. Management may not be happy with your predictions, but happiness isn’t the goal. Try to show them that if the schedule doesn’t match reality, the schedule can’t be met (although in some situations, it may be decided to keep the bad schedule for other reasons). Now at this point, you’ve got two choices: move the date or drop the features. If you decide to move the date, keep an active copy of The List so that nobody can add features without adjusting the time line again.

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