I'm a statistical modeler at a large bank in a highly regulated area. I work in a team of about twelve people divvied up between three managers. Right all of our statistical models are developed using a simple waterfall style methodology which where the models go from "Data Collection" to "Methodology" and then to "Specification and Testing" among other milestones.
The current management keeps setting target dates that are far too aggressive for model development in this framework, as a result most of the modelers are working long hours, weekends, etc... I'm taking a break from writing up documentation on a Sunday morning to type this. The current set up for development came into being seven months ago and since then our turnover rate has skyrocketed. In a 12ish person team we've had five people quit or transfer out of the department in seven months. As a result I'm the only non-manager in the group who was with the bank prior to the re-organization. I'm also contemplating leaving the department.
I strongly suspect that the issue is that the current head of the team and his managers have no idea how to set deliverable dates for this kind of work. All of managers come from an analytics background and seem to have no experience with model development. I wrote a memo several months ago encouraging the team to explore an agile development style but this was largely ignored, we are not co-located which makes adoption of pure agile methods difficult in any case.
How do I tell the managers to get it together on the project management front and either set sensible milestones for our waterfall tracking (using something like critical chain?) or move to Agile?
P.S. for this kind of development work it's extremely difficult to forecast how long development will take until you've done at least a couple weeks of preliminary work (getting data/cleaning data/etc...) .