One thing that I know about myself is that I do my best work slowly. I’m a thoughtful and meticulous person in everything I do, but especially when it comes to building something important.
Over the last six or seven years since I started Radical Application Development, I’ve developed a rather good sense of when a project or customer is not for me. I don’t take on customers that place an emphasis on urgency and I don’t often take on projects with a short timeline or an urgent deadline. There are always exceptions of course, and I’m happy to help my existing customers out of a jam when I can, but I’m good at steering these types of prospects elsewhere.
To paraphrase myself, talking to several prospects over the years: “I’m going to charge you twice as much as anyone else and I’m going to take three times as long as you think is necessary. After all that, I won’t deliver exactly what you want, but you will get what you need.” Conversations like this steer 9 out of 10 people away, but the ones who stay end of working with me for years to come.
Now I’m not just writing this article to brag about myself and how I run my business. Instead, I just wanted to emphasize how good I am at avoiding taking on deadlines. Except… except for one customer. Myself. I noticed recently that I have a tendency to create artificial deadlines for many of my side projects. I think I brough this approach to my personal projects before I learned how best to serve my customers, then I never updated my expectations with myself.
A couple of examples:
- The Extended Collection is approaching its one-year anniversary. I have a list of new features that I’m working on for the site and I’d like to build a beta version of the VR interface. For the last few months, I’ve told myself that I needed to have this work done by that anniversary. Why? It’s an arbitrary date that has no impact on the quality of the features that I can make. I know I can do a better job with them if I just ship them when they’re ready.
- Virtual Reality Stoa: I started a small side project a couple of weeks ago with a short timeline and a set date to publish version 1.0. Again, no one is waiting for this or expecting anything. Why the deadline? It’s not helping. Instead, I’ve dropped the timeline and I’m having a blast just tinkering and making things.
So in short, I need to stop assigning myself timelines and deadlines. If you see me doing this to myself in the future, please call me out and help me get back on track.