Once again, other industries are far ahead of software development in the depth and maturity of their thinking about work. This pull quote sums up the article nicely:
A hundred years of industrial research has proven beyond question that exhausted workers create errors that blow schedules, destroy equipment, create cost overruns, erode product quality, and threaten the bottom line. They are a danger to their projects, their managers, their employers, each other, and themselves. Any way you look at it, Crunch Mode used as a long-term strategy is economically indefensible. Longer hours do not increase output except in the short term. Crunch does not make the product ship sooner--it makes the product ready later . Crunch does not make the product better--it makes the product worseNow, there have been times when I, as a development manager, have pushed back against pressure from my management to suggest to my reports that they enter "crunch mode" for an extended period (oh, say, the lasquarterer of disappointingng year). Once, I put together a spreadsheet that, although I didn't know it at the time, embodiesomethingng similar to Chapman's model, as mentioned by Evan. The covering email that announced this spreadsheet explained that I intended it to be used for scenario modelling: think up some scheme for deploying overtime, plug it into the model, see what improvement (or, more likely, decline) in productivity would come about. Or better still goal seek to the improvement desired, see what the model had to say about the assumptions that would have to be true for that improvement to materialise, and then judge if those assumptions were reasonable.
Those of you reading this who have any substantial experience in the software industry will not be surprised to learn that I nearly lost my job as a result.
And Evan addresses this:
Managers decide to crunch because they want to be able to tell their bosses "I did everything I could." They crunch because they value the butts in the chairs more than the brains creating games. They crunch because they haven't really thought about the job being done or the people doing it. They crunch because they have learned only the importance of appearing to do their best to instead of really of doing their best. And they crunch because, back when they were programmers or artists or testers or assistant producers or associate producers, that was the way they were taught to get things done.There is a circle of abuse here, (real abuse; lives relationships and families are damaged), that must be broken if the software industry is to flourish.