[MUD-Dev] Design iterations (Was: R & D)

Frank Crowell frankc at maddog.com
Fri Jun 7 17:50:52 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: "Brian Bilek" <brian at darkalley.net>

> However, this particular game company treated milestones as timed
> events - it was crunch time before a 'milestone,' everyone worked
> late and worked weekends trying to complete their bits of code,
> art, or design prior to reaching the 'milestone' date.  Is this
> just a word used in a different way, what I would call 'staged
> releases,' with those releases being held to a deadline?  Maybe
> this was unique to that company?  Or is this a difference between
> game companies and other software development groups that you've
> seen throughout the industry?

Actually it is not a game company thing, but a fairly common
practice.  This is time-box corrupted to it's worst.  The project
manager that causes these periodic crunches should be flogged with a
rubber chicken.

Companies that do things like this, and many are like this, are
worse than sweatshops.  The game companies are more prone to
experience this because it is made up of a lot of young people that
don't have families or don't care that they don't see the home for
days at a time.  Dot coms always used the excuse that they were
startups and needed to get that edge over the competition.  Edge?
Maybe they should have considered just getting an ordinary check
from a real customer.  I have even seem companies brag that their
guys sleep on the company floor.  At one place I worked, they
brought in evening meals.  Nice people right?  No because the
assumption was that you continued working after the meal.  Another
case of where a project manager needed to be flogged because the
manager had created the initial need for the crunch.

There is a practice called "scheduling to the wall".  This means the
PM develops a schedule based on estimates and schedules so there is
no slacktime.  That means that any slip at all means longer days and
weekends.  I have even seen PM automatically schedule weekends
before the work begins.  I don't have enough rubber chickens for
those kind of PMs.

A PM is really critical to the success of the project but just
because the PM is a 24/7 person that doesn't mean the rest of the
team is.


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