Hello! This article is part of a Death by 1000 Cuts series that shines a light on glaring software development industry failures. I'm confident you'll return to 1000 articles someday.

Date Driven Development is a prime reason most software quality sucks. In the consumer software world, this is especially true.

Most modern software ships continuously with a loose intent and at the mercy of a deadline. This scenario is soul-crushing. Why do people believe a date provides value?

The Deadline

Death marches instill dread in software development professionals. The infamous death march is a grim reaper living within the memories of the damned. If you’re unfamiliar, a death march forces software development teams to substitute life with work.

Woe to the software development professional caught in the death march.

Software development goals should be human-centered.

  • Create reliable products
  • Build rock-solid architectures
  • Value user experiences

That’s not the modern software development world; the date is king.


Blizzard Entertainment defied the due date. They produced top-quality products with dates out of sight and out of mind. Their products were a limited set of top-quality releases. Once upon a time asking about a Blizzard product release date would produce crickets. 🦗

Blizzard resisted Date Driven Development, and quality shined through as a result.

Today is a different story, but mmany companies fall prey to this anti-pattern.

The entire software development industry should read Blizzard’s history as an inspirational yet caustionary tale.


  • Focus on human needs
  • Test everything and be ready to ship now
  • Deliver software value; dates don’t deliver value.
  • Under-promise and over-deliver

Other Deadly Cuts