Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Downtime in between projects:  What do you do?

OK, I realize that it may have been a long time since some of you have had any downtime in between projects, but I'll throw the question out there anyway. 

What do you do after you've finished up one project, but haven't really been given your marching orders for the next project?  Read, surf, sleep, etc?

An ancilliary question is, what's the longest downtime you've ever had between projects?

Crimson
Monday, September 29, 2003

Reading Joel on Software? :)

Srdjan
Monday, September 29, 2003

longest time between projects about 4 months ...

read books
take certification exams
improve in house utility software
take time off
help other people

blargle
Monday, September 29, 2003

Longest time between projects:  7 months

* read
* improved in-house software
* quit

idle hands make the devil's work
Monday, September 29, 2003

I've observed that, in a good environment, the company kind of "looks the other way" while the programmers relax for a few weeks, maybe even a few months. They've just given their all to ship a product (or whatever) and while they're not burnt out, the intensity is gone. Whether they make this decision consciously or not, the people in the organization seem to hold each other up by not asking for anything that is too demanding. In other words, the programmers do whatever they want as long as they don't look extremely lazy.

I think the rationalization is, "Bob worked lots of overtime, wrote some amazing code, and now we have a great product. If he wants a month or two to read some books on web services and/or play ping pong, so be it. His intensity will come back soon enough."

sell out
Monday, September 29, 2003

Srdjan:

That happens no matter what; between projects or not. :)

Crimson
Monday, September 29, 2003

Look for a new project. Although I realize that not everyone here works on a per contract basis. Longest downtime has been about 6 weeks. I'm frugal so I can cope with 4-8000$ revenue hole rather well.

Saruman
Monday, September 29, 2003

Usually you do professional development (learn or teach) or catch up on in-house development tools so that you turn some of the items on the wish list into productivity gains during busy seasons.

Li-fan Chen
Monday, September 29, 2003

In the past I've divided tasks into "project work" and "functional work".

Project work is basically doing things that will get a product out of the door and make money. Sort of self explanatory really.

Functional work is doing this that will improve the process or productivity. In short, the aim should be to increase your Joel Test score ;-)

Sample functional work I've done in the past included going on training courses, coaching colleagues on new technologies, updating the department intranet site, improving the build process, and writing documents on how to avoid common programming pitfalls.

I've currently got a list of proposed functional work as long as my arm to do, so I'm hardly likely to run out of anything when the next project finishes.

Better Than Being Unemployed....
Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Process Improvements!  Slice and dice the business or the system. Develop new ways to do old processes faster, cheaper and with better quality.  Read up on the latest techniques.  Teach your System Testers a thing or two which might help them actually help you someday.

Jen
Friday, October 03, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home