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.
Bill 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.
Bill Gates: Just drop development of all the useful features and leave the annoying ones!
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