October 20 was the internal deadline we picked for Basecamp 3 back in early Summer. It was computed by the highly scientific method of two-parts sussing, one-part calendar dart throwing, and the full awareness of its arbitrary nature.
The purpose of a self-imposed deadline is to sharpen the edge of your prioritization sword and stake a flag of coordination for the team. It’s not a hill to die on. It’s not a justification for weeks of death marching. It’s a voluntary constraint on scope.
Yes, deadlines are wonderful! They’re the tie-breaker on feature debates. They suck all the excess heat out of the prioritization joust: “Hey, I’d love to get your additional pet feature into the first release, but, you know: THE DEADLINE”.
The opposite of the deadline, the once much heralded When It’s Done, is the oppression of a blank canvas. Unless your system has fewer moving parts than you can count on two hands, objective perfection is impossible. It’s always a trade-off, but one that now needs to happen in the uncharted territory of a team-sized illusion of agreements.
Putting in a good day’s work relies on the knowledge that you just moved a little bit closer to the finish line. If the finish line is constantly moving and constantly in dispute, it’s impossible to reap that satisfaction. Which in turn leads to stress and misery.
Don’t let the self-imposed deadline kill you, let it free you.
Jennyon 19 Oct 15
Sooooooo, will BC3 be released tomorrow?
Jimon 19 Oct 15
I prefer “release date” rather than “deadline”. Release creates momentum, happy feel, progress. Deadline creates “you are dead when you can’t finish it” feeling.
John Huffakeron 19 Oct 15
Between as an internal scope culling tool and when its done as an external expectations management tool, you have the perfect combo. Put it in a bulleted list and you’ve got a manifesto.
Devanon 19 Oct 15
Every time I see or hear about deadlines, I am reminded of this quote from my favourite author:- Douglas Adams
Jamieon 20 Oct 15
It’s Oct 20th
Can’t wait to see Basecamp 3 today!!!
Brian J Kingon 20 Oct 15
I have to resonate with Devan’s comment about Douglas Adams, he’s definitely my favorite author and the quote is certainly epic.
With that said, I love Basecamp and am incredibly psyched to try Basecamp 3 out today!
Keep up the tremendous work, you’re part of a tremendous team and deliver greatness each day.
Gregory Brownon 20 Oct 15
Thanks for this. It inspired me to look at my own “When its done” project and realize the disastrous effect that policy can have on things.
See a graph here for proof. I’ve been wanting to address this problem for months now, but this post helped nudge me towards sorting things out today.
Good stuff David!
This discussion is closed.