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This is eSports!
I'm a project manager (mostly focused on QA / test management) in technology consulting; many of my teams were outsourced from our off-shore units. It's not exactly games development, but I see similar threads. I've found that crunch is "unavoidable" when any or all of the following happen:
When tasked with managing a team that is veering into crunch because we're not given enough time or resources, or "shit happens" and our contingency budget still doesn't cover it, I always try to push back with worst-case acceptable scenarios; alternatives (shift-staggering); etc. Generally in my field folks are more understanding and we are able to find some kind of happy medium, or at least in the worst case scenario make up for it after the fact (you worked three weekends for crunch? please take a week and change off to relax with your family). These people are some of the most diligent folks--almost to the point of subservience--I have worked with, and I have to remind them that they can--and need to--speak up to me if they're feeling stretched and need to discuss alternatives. Reading St. John's ramblings, I find that it's not entirely surprising but it's so very disheartening. I'm glad Ian Williams continues to fight for this and Rami Ismail's response to St. John was fantastic.
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