Getting Real: Release something today 23 Sep 2005
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The most important thing in software development is motivation. Motivation is local — if you aren’t motivated by what you are working on right now then chances are it’s not going to be anywhere near as good as it could be. In fact, it’s probably going to suck.
What kills motivation quick? Long, drawn out release cycles. Long release cycles insert too much time between celebrations, and quick wins that you can celebrate often are incredible motivators. When you kill the quick wins you kill the motivation. And that can kill your product.
So, if you’re in the middle of a 1, 2, 3 or more month release cycle, dedicate a day a week (or every two weeks) for some quick wins. Ask yourself “What can we do and release in 4 hours?” And then do it. It could be a new simple feature, or a small enhancement to an existing feature, or rewriting some help text to reduce the support burden, or removing some form fields that you really don’t need right now.
When you find those 4-hour quick wins you’ll find celebration. And with celebration comes motivation. And with motivation comes better products. And with better products come happier customers.