Actually, I think this time it is fear. The project is reaching the point where people are starting to wonder how much longer this swordfish can carry on. The answer, of course, is not much longer. The problem with trying to answer that question, though, can be summed up in two words: imperfect knowledge.
Temps always make their judgments on how long a project will last based on two things: what they are told and what they can see. Sure, I talk about a project being like a swordfish, but most temps don't think like deep-sea fishermen. If they are told a project will last six weeks, they will apply their own private calculus to that and decide that the project will last half that long, or that long plus two weeks, or whatever. They will make a decision based upon their personal experiences. No problem with that.
Well, it appears that the fear factor is rising, as many people seem to be making escape plans. We were told the project would run through Feb. 14. That's one data point, but without knowing how they got that date or what went into the calculation, we have to assume that Rule No. 1 applies. The only question remaining is in which direction will that end date move?