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I enjoyed this article this morning. I observe and play the chicken game constantly. I always called it the "Is it done yet game".  As the recession worsens we are afraid to say "that enhancement to the web site will say 2 weeks to code and a two weeks to test/fix".  Instead we are told do it all in 40 hours knowing there is no stinkin way that is gonna happen.  If you tell the project manager is going to take longer because of testing and integration you are told. "That is not part of the time estimate.'   If your team uses agile sometimes this game is played on a daily basis at the morning stand up meeting.  One of the most popular strategies is to say we are 95% done.  I will admit I have sometimes fibbed and said I was making progress when instead I was behind schedule.  It buys a little time but only works a time or two. In these cases everyone is playing chicken with everyone else just because the team is unwilling or afraid to be honest about time estimates. I think this kind of behavior worsens as we try to do more with less.  In the long run the project still takes as long as it takes. If people are truly striving to do a good job. The  developer may have originally estimated 40 hours the project manager said no do it in 12 hours. In the long run it still takes 40 hours or possibly more due to lack of communication. Why can't we just communicate more honestly . That is just not in vogue in today's climate of fear of retribution.  We just keep playing this time wasting non-productive game.  Here is a link to the article on

Managing the Chicken Game

Disclaimer: References to the Chicken Game do not reflect upon current or past employers. It is just a half thought out editorial based on lack of sleep. No animals were harmed and I only consumed 2 carbon credits creating this post. I put my redbull can in the recycle bin by the way.


Posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2009 5:33 AM | Back to top

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