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3 Tips to Beat the Development Deadline

Deadlines looming and just canít get enough done at work? Try these 3 steps to organize your working day and deliver your projects on time.

Tip 1 - understand your environment

Workplace distractions, wanted and unwanted, eat away a developer's day. Identify the distractions that have the largest time cost - the approximate number of minutes that the distraction keeps you from your daily work goals. Use 5 or 10 minute time increments to make your time estimates easier.

Rank the distractions from the largest time cost to the smallest. Eliminating these distractions is the ideal goal. In reality many distractions are difficult or impossible to get ride of. Focus on reducing the time cost for your top 3 distractions until their time cost is halved. Identify and rank your distractions again, then work on halving their time cost. Repeating this process will eventually keep your controllable distractions to a minimum.

Tip 2 - know yourself

Do you go for a coffee break when your code just wonít compile? Do you find it easer to code in the morning or afternoon? Where/when do you come up with your best ideas?

Knowing your development habits will improve your efficiency. How? Letís take as an example my co-workers Tom. Through trial and error Tom found that morning and midday were his best times to code. By mid-afternoon Tom found new coding problems harder to tackle. Tom found that mid-afternoon was a better time for his design and documentation tasks. By late afternoon Tom was ready to tackle coding again.

There are days when Tom only has coding tasks. Getting through these days can be tough, especially for people like Tom! All is not lost. The trick for these days is to rearrange your tasks, in Tomís case he would schedule the tasks that require the most focus and attention at the start of his day. Tasks that are less mentally intensive are left for later in the day.

Rewarding yourself is a good way to keep up your motivation and focus levels. Try to keep rewards in the form of project tasks that you really enjoy. This type of reward is work focused unlike coffee breaks or surfing the web which can becoming distractions. Knowing when to reward yourself is also important. Do you work harder if the reward is before, between or after a difficult set of tasks?

Tip 3 - divide and conquer

With your distractions out of the way and your development habits in mind you are ready to divide up your project. Identify the difficult tasks and your reward tasks and make a ďto-doĒ list for the coming week. Set daily objectives each morning from weekly task list. These objectives may be completing tasks or completing a section of large tasks. Keep the objectives small and realistic for one work day. Move any uncompleted tasks from your previous day onto the top of the next dayís task list. If you are not completing all your set objectives each day reexamine your distractions, development habit and task list for areas for reevaluation.

As you get better at these three steps you will find more completed objectives each day and the deadlines will become easier to meet.
Nov 10 '08 #1
12 40931
797 Expert 512MB
Tip 4: Don't get sucked into answering questions on the Bytes website... or all your remaining time will go out the window and you'll miss your deadline... :oP
Nov 11 '08 #2
9,735 Expert Mod 8TB
Tip 4: Don't get sucked into answering questions on the Bytes website... or all your remaining time will go out the window and you'll miss your deadline... :oP
Awe you beat me to it Balabaster. That was going to be my tip!
Nov 11 '08 #3
:) writing byte articles is my "reward task".. not project dealines were hurt in producing this article....
Nov 12 '08 #4
127 100+
Keep the objectives small and realistic for one work day. Move any uncompleted tasks from your previous day onto the top of the next dayís task list. If you are not completing all your set objectives each day reexamine your distractions, development habit and task list for areas for reevaluation.
Well said and I do agree with it.

Thanks for the good article which reminds us and helps us increase the productivity :)

Raghavan alias Saravanan M.
Nov 13 '08 #5
1,584 Expert 1GB
I can't stop surfing the net, digg, youtube, and of course, Bytes!

When I'm at a point where I need to think, I get up and walk away for some reason, it's almost automatic.

I'm a chronic procrastinator and although your tips are good, but they are good if its easy to follow them. If someone was that organized, they would rarely miss deadlines and hence wouldn't need the tip! :D

What to do guys? Instead of being here I should be coding more of zankobooks.com, writing an 8 page paper, or client application.

:( its 1:20 and time for bed. I'm sad because I never get anything done in the morning, my afternoons go so fast, and well here I am in the vicious cycle again.

I have never taken a vacation, I think I'm just too tired for working.
Dec 9 '08 #6
Really useful tips. For asp.net programmers? There must be some special tips that work for asp.net web programmer, right? At least someone has to do it. Perhaps me? Let me think!
Dec 16 '08 #7
4,871 Expert 4TB
I got involved on this site after I got disallusioned with my boss. So I started surfing the net, forums etc. When I started to get annoyed with work requests as they ate into my surfing time, I realized I had a problem.

So as psychology books say, I had reached stage 1 - realizing that I had a problem. My next insight was that as my surfing went up my job satisfaction went down.

To cut a long story short, I went cold turkey. I decided that when working I would focus on work. Other events made things easier. My boss got fired and then I had some health issues that made me refocus.

When I surfed all day I didn't get my work done, it piled up and I got stressed. Once I started to get things done I felt more positive and time management techniques were more effective.

Hope these comments are helpful :).
Dec 24 '08 #8
thanks alot .This post is very very useful

hope to see more posts like this one .

Thnaks sweety .
Dec 31 '08 #9
Tassos Souris
152 100+
To produce exceptional code there is only one way....

Listen as loud as you can "Nile -- The Annihilation of the Wicked"... :-)
Jan 11 '09 #10
for quality assurance such information is very useful i agree with it.
Jan 18 '09 #11
344 100+
That's true, once I solve a problem and get a trick down, I can go on and do more, but once I stuck with a wall whatever if small or not, I see everything as walls.
The problem is I can manage time only if I'm inside the good area.

Thanks for the nice tips.
Jun 3 '09 #12
785 512MB
For the procrastinators out there, the trick I found, is to learn how to force yourself to do "opposite to emotion". Basically you tell yourself "I have decided to [insert task that must be done]. " Then, do the task. It often takes several refocusing selftalks, but overtime, these become less and less. I can now write task lists and I get my programming done faster.
Jun 13 '09 #13

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