Crunch Mode Stories and Recent Press

The spouse of an Electronic Arts employee relates her experiences being engaged to an EA employee during extended crunch time. The resulting collection of comments and attention turned her LiveJournal page into a broad internet resource.

joestraitiff's Journal
Another blog posting about work conditions at Electronic Arts that received a great deal of press coverage. Joe Straitiff describes the conditions at his employer and his experiences up until his termination from the company.

Santa's sweatshop
A good overview article of the Electronic Arts and game industry working situation. Discusses the issue of the legality of unpaid overtime.

Contains a variety of stories about Electronic Arts and how they have publicly responded to criticism concerning ea_spouse's posting. Additionally, there is an open class action lawsuit against EA for failing to pay over time to their graphics arts workers.

Code Rush. PBS Home Video, 2000.
Documentary of the lives of programmers working at Netscape during the company's crunch to get the Mozilla browser out the door (in a vain attempt to compete with Microsoft). Shows clearly how the lives of software developers are impacted by crunch mode.

Zachary, G.P. Showstopper! The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft. 1994: Simon & Schuster Inc., New York, NY.
This book portrays the human drama of the gargantuan undertaking of the Microsoft NT project. It reveals the personalities that stand behind the great advances and shows them as they wrestle with the forces that threaten to tear them apart before the project is completed.

The Economics of Crunch Mode

TimeWork web
Provides a solid economic motivation for shorter work hours resulting in an increase in productivity.

Robinson, E. "Why Crunch Mode Doesn't Work".
Provides an analysis of where "crunch mode" may have originated historically. Points out that it has been shown for many industries that productivity is maximized when a 40 hour work week is adhered to.

Robinson, E. "Can People Really Program 80 Hours a Week?" Mischievous Ramblings.
A blog post which critiques the common computer industry practice of long work hours. The author has had personal experience working in "crunched" workplaces.

Ask Slashdot post: "Can People Really Program 80+ Hours a Week?"
Slashdot posters engage in a discussion concerning the utility of programming long hours. Most (if not all) agree that long hours are productive only when employed for short periods of time.

Muensterberg, Hugo. "Psychology and Industrial Efficiency." 1913.
A very early article on the relation between hours worked and productivity. Notes a case in which reducing work hours from 9 to 8 in a factory actually increased total productivity.

Death March: Causes and Solutions

Yourdon, Edward. Death March Second Edition. Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference, Upper Saddle River, NJ. Copyright 2004.
Describes why companies go into death-march, crunch mode on projects and how managers and employees can survive circumstances which might otherwise spell failure.

International Game Developers Association, IGDA - Quality of Life
Excellent collection of other resources, including an extensive white paper outlining the state of the industry, the benefits of a reduced work week, and suggested plans of action. Seeks to collect information about company practices, highlighting companies which have employee friendly policies.

Howie, Hank. "Making Great Games In 40 Hours Per Week"
Article written by a manager at a game development company that insists its employees work only 40 hours per week. The author explains the benefits of his company's approach and outlines how, exactly, it is implemented.

Avitzur, Ron. The Graphing Calculator Story

U.S. Department of Labor. FairPay Fact Sheet by Exemption Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Anonymous. Electronic Arts Overtime Litigation

Frauenheim, Ed. At tech firms, time again for flextime?, CNET CNET Networks, Inc.. 2005.