Crunch mode

2005/05/24 at 13:18

Joey deVilla has a good blog post about crunch mode, which he defines as “working extra hours each day for extended periods in order to meet a (usually arbitrary and unrealistic) deadline.”
I agree completely with Joey that extended crunch mode is counter-productive. As work hours increase, productivity decreases, and at some point, you’re making so many errors that it becomes counter-productive.
The issue of work hours almost always comes up in some form when I interview for jobs. My stock answer is: software development is a cyclical enterprise. I understand that there are periods when much greater effort is necessary, and I’m willing to put in that periodic work.
And as a manager myself, I tell my team members that if they have to be in crunch mode more than periodically, then it’s a management failure.
I usually welcome this topic in a job interview, because the interviewer’s attitude toward crunch mode tells me a lot about the culture of the company and whether I want to work there. Thankfully, I’ve had the opportunity to work in several companies where management essentially agrees with me about the dubious value of perpetual crunch mode.