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In project management, a death march is a project where the members feel it is destined to fail, or requires a stretch of unsustainable overwork. The general feel of the project reflects that of an actual death march because the members of the project are forced to continue the project by their superiors against their better judgment. ~Wikipedia
Will and BJ discuss the troubles and tribulations of the death march. They are typically characterized by heavy turnover, burnout, and timelines that are too aggressive to actually meet. Death marches usually come about though poor management or a disconnect between developers and other departments like sales. Rapid growth may also lead to a death march. Growth of the team or growth of the company if it is a startup. It is best to avoid working for companies or projects that have death march potential. To do this ask upfront what the expectations are regarding hours, overtime, and comp time during the interview. Remember you are choosing the company as much as they are choosing you.
Excerpt of The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme) by John Williams used in the discussion about the Episode VII was taken from The Music Of Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition .