A death march in the realm of IT refers to the extended pursuit toward the completion of a project which is hopelessly out of hand.  No one wants to go on a death march.  Many will ask in the midst of it, “how did we get here?!”

There are many ways a death march can begin.  Perhaps the line of business told the IT department that the project simply must be completed before year end – “for business reasons”.  Or, perhaps the project manager over promised due to optimism or even poor planning. But, many death marches begin with the best of intentions.

A desire to advance the technological foundation of the company is one such good intention.  Many have rushed to adopt the latest technology as a part of their project.  This increases the risk of failure dramatically, but the risks seem justified given all the promised advantages of the new technology.  It seems heroic at the outset and foolish at the end.

If you have set your sights on adopting new technology, please take it a step at a time and never promise to deliver something that you aren’t sure you can deliver in the time allotted.