In the software development industry, a death march is a dysphemism or description for the end phase of a project when a hard deadline
has to be met, often to meet an arbitrary ship
date leaked to the press and/or the shareholders. Often if a project is off schedule due to mismanagement
(as many are), said management will ask team members
to work especially
grueling hours, weekends (sometimes with a straight face), or by attempting
to "throw (enough) bodies at the problem" with varying results, often causing burnout. It is also common for a developer to subsist on flat food
while in the midst
of a death march.
Gates: The world wants and our shareholders need
Vista by Christmas!
Steve Ballmer: We have had our developers on a perma death march
for the last
three years to ship it and need
a few more monthes.
Gates: Just drop development of all the useful features and leave
the annoying ones!