Working to a Deadline
Working to a deadline can make you work more effectively and get the job done a lot quicker. But does this hold true for web programming? If you are a journalist, you will be used to deadlines. It is possible to write a story quickly with the added pressure of a deadline. Similarly, tasks like mowing the law or vacuuming the house can be done quickly if you set yourself a deadline. But I have found with web programming, a tight deadline can be very counter-productive.
I am nearing the end of a pretty big web project for a client. I had a deadline that is 5 weeks after the contract was signed. The project is very complex and it is a very tight time scale. A deadline can make you feel anxious and rush through the work. Is it possible to code efficiently in a rush? I would say it is not. Good coding requires a lot of patience and focus. Worrying about the deadline merely distracts you from the task at hand and can make for slopping coding.
So what is the answer when you are a web programmer with a deadline? Well, you just have to forget about the deadline and concentrate on the programming. Thinking about the deadline will not make you code any faster. And the added stress may in fact make you code slower because you will probably not be thinking as clearly as you ordinarily would.
When setting the deadline with the client, always point would that the deadline is approximate and delays do happen. Explain that with programming, it is impossible to tell exactly how long something will take at the beginning. If the client is paying for the complete job, rather than by the hour/day, then he/she will probably be fine with that, especially if you keep him/her in the loop with progress. If the client insists on a strict deadline, then always allow for some slack so that you do not end up with the added pressure of a tight deadline hanging over your head.
The most important thing is to always focus on the code and design when working and try and block out everything else.