At Bytewire we are often faced with long projects which are developed over many months, sometimes even years in the case of our biggest project Street Crime and it can often be demoralising to continue to work on the same project over such a long period of time. There can be times when you feel the project is not moving along as well as you would like or you are stuck in a bit of a rut.
Below are a few hints and tips in ways in which we stay focused on our goal when working on a large project, hopefully some of you will find the ideas useful and perhaps even implement them into your projects.
Yes, we still use old fashioned brainstorming, its a superb way to drum up some new ideas and start a roller coaster of improvements and changes which will make the overall project a better one. Sometimes on web development projects its not always possible to get everyone together in the same room, fear not, there are plenty of excellent tools which allow you to brainstorm without being together.
The main one we use here at Bytewire is Etherpad. Etherpad is a totally free real time text editor owned by Google. Its allows several people to simultaneously edit a document at the same time therefore allowing people to develop ideas started by someone else.
Believe it or not a large proportion of ideas are thought of away from your working environment, when your slaving away to meet deadlines and your heads in the game your unlikely to come up with inspiration for new ideas. Take some time out and take a step back from the project and take a look at it from the outside in.
Take some time away from the project to relax as a group of developers, you may well just come up with that idea which makes or breaks the project, it may not seem like “work” but as long as its not done too often it always helps motivation.
If your struggling to get over the line for that final big push spend a couple of hours looking at the progress you have made so far, as you progress the inspiration for what you have done so far will spur you on to finish the project.
Ask a friend
Friends are always there to help you, call on a friend who has no connection to the project. Either ask them for their thoughts on the project without going into too much detail to feed off any ideas they may have or chill out and relax to re charge yourself for another push at coming up with the best result possible for the project.
We use a combination of these techniques at Bytewire as we are often zoned in on a large project which can take a long time to develop. Street Crime has been in constant development for more than 2 years now and we are striving to make it the best we possibly can.
If anyone else has any techniques they use to stay motivated throughout a long project perhaps you can comment and share your ideas so that other people can benefit from what you have found works for you.