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.
Reading Joel on Software? :)
longest time between projects about 4 months ...
Longest time between projects: 7 months
idle hands make the devil's work
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.
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.
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.
In the past I've divided tasks into "project work" and "functional work".
Better Than Being Unemployed....
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.
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