Forget the company softball team. The real game being played in many corporations is known as Schedule Chicken-- a game where no one on a team wants to fess up that a project is going to be delayed.
I had never heard of Schedule Chicken until last Friday. I am evidently way out of the loop on current corporate patois, Victor Stone wrote about Schedule Chicken back in 1999, saying that Microsoft was banning the practice.
No way of knowing whether the good folks at Microsoft were successful at banning the game. However, according to my sources, Schedule Chicken is Alive and Well and living in the halls of corporations throughout the country.
"[Schedule Chicken] happens when two or more areas of a product claim they can deliver their features at a ridiculously early date because each assumes the other feature area team is lying even worse about how long it will take them to deliver their features. This charade marches forward past one psychedelic checkpoint after another until just before the goods are actually due. A more seasoned team lead will delay copping to what is painfully obvious for as long as humanly possible, hoping someone else will break first and jump out of their car. The ceremony where the team lead has to admit the emperor isn't wearing any clothes results in a tribal ritual that rivals Inca sacrifices, except that the virgin probably felt better about her fate. It is very difficult for the offending feature team to recover from being the furthest out on the schedule—because now that the truth is known, all everyone else has to do to look good is to finish just before that late team. Even if the schedule chickens end up beating the deadline, it is nearly impossible for the people on that team to beat the stigma of being unable to stay on a schedule."
According to Stone, Schedule Chicken is based on that famous scene in Rebel Without A Cause where James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Corey Allen use hot rods and a cliff to play "chicken.' In the movie,the participants take their hot rods and race towards a cliff. The first one to jump out before the car crashes over the cliff is "the chicken."
It is a dangerous game. In the movie, Corey Allen's jacket strap got caught on the car door and he went over the cliff.
Welcome back to work. Hope you had a restful Memorial Day.