Crunch Mode

February 18, 2008

James Golick writes about crunch mode and how it can turn a team of even the best all-star code artists in to mediocre programmers.

I have been on an agile team full of all-star programmers. Every one of them as bright as the sun, and every one of them dedicated to writing quality software. Sure, we inherited a legacy code base of nearly a million lines of not-so-all-star code, but that’s the same situation everybody else is in too, right? It took us a couple of years to really get the agile juices flowing, but once we did, it was great. Except for crunch mode.

I’ve seen what James is talking about first hand. I’ve been what James is talking about. What I’ve never understood is why crunch mode seems more appealing to managers than facilitating the things a team needs to truly deliver on the promise of constantly shippable code. To me, the value proposition of being able to ship after any week- or month-long iteration is a big win over going into crunch mode to hit a date.

But I’m a developer, what do I know about managing projects, right?

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