Defining Crunch Mode

"Crunch mode", also referred to as "crunch time," is the term used by those in the software development industry to describe working extra hours for extended periods of time in order to finish a project or meet a deadline. It is associated with management expecting employees to work 50, 60, 70, and sometimes even 80 hours a week for months on end.

In November of 2004, "ea_spouse", the partner of an Electronic Arts employee, wrote a scathing blog entry detailing the extreme working conditions imposed upon EA employees. The blog entry rapidly circulated the internet, prompting employees at both EA and other companies to speak out. Litigation, seeking overtime compensation and statutory penalties, that had begun in late July gained prominence.

This project looks into the cause of this outpouring of commiseration with ea_spouse and anger against working conditions in the software development industry: Crunch mode. Detailed in our project are the recent complaints against EA and litigation, earlier examples of crunch mode, the economic problems with crunch mode, and the causes of death march, a situation intrinsically linked to crunch mode.