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The Creating Software on a Tight Deadline
Making a software deadline can be one of the most stressful experiences for software developers and programmers. As the project progresses ever closer to a release deadline or phase deadline, there are many challenges. All the sudden smooth sailing is cast into stormy weather from unexpected bugs or major project changes in art or mechanics.
Part of creating software on a tight deadline is normal and natural, as many programmers do their best work when pressure gets laid on. Another part of deadlines is abnormal and results from market conditions and investment pressures.
It can be hard for a team once marketers begin making press releases and demo presentations, and for some segments there are fixed deadlines.
Either you make the release, or you extend deadline by often as much as a year. Types of software that tend to get tied into strict deadlines are tax preparation software, video game software, and seasonal software releases.
No one wants to buy a tax software program after the fiscal tax preparation deadline passes. Additionally, Christmas shoppers are less likely to invest in frivolous games purchases after the holiday shopping deadline hits. Shoppers and software consumers want software according to their time lines and deadlines, not yours.
As a result of software deadline pressures, the following tips can help teams get ahead of their competition which is every bit as likely to be racing against deadlines. First, software developers can benefit by hiring experienced project managers. Depending on the severity in scope and deadlines, an experienced manager has likely dealt with these issues before more so than a non-experienced project manager.
Additionally, project managers are good at compartmentalizing software projects and establishing pre-release phase deadlines, which helps ensure that no department such as the software graphics or software documentation teams are allowed to fall further and further behind.
Second, publishers of software can benefit from outsourcing or bolstering their staff for brief crunch periods when facing deadline pressures. While some areas of software development are generally less amenable for outside hands to touch, in particular areas such as intra-key frame illustrations, content writing and additional translation can be outsourced through the internet or through hiring more developers to help recover from lagging deadline goals.
Third, software publishers can beat the deadlines by giving themselves ample time to make the required progress on a project before release. Many successful projects start years before the public is exposed to even the first advertisement. While branding and pre-release advertising can be a good thing, committing to early and unrealistic deadlines is one almost sure fire way to miss deadlines.
Lastly, in the event a software team can’t make a deadline, it’s important to inform the public. This should be more than a Vista-missing-deadline style approach with emphasis on what improvements a deadline rescheduling will bring users and also the establishment of a concrete and attainable deadline.
Software users are much more likely to embrace sequels of exciting games that have deadline extensions to add “new combat mode features” than to embrace business applications that are either past deadline or simply state that the software deadlines are being extended for some generic reason such as “for further review and testing.”
Following these tips is a helpful way to help software programmers, publishers, and software advertisement teams obtain optimal results when it comes to dealing with the pressure of deadlines. It’s important to realize that your competitors often face the same deadline pressures as you in regards to software releases.
In closing, remember when facing software deadlines the last thing you ever should do is cut back features and leave partially implemented code. Gamer and business software users can sense when they’re being ripped off, and when a software program has more features listed than implemented, it is absolutely necessary to either finish the features or remove all references to the extraneous options prior to the release deadline.