The One with Sudden Deadlines

This will be just a short rant because I need to get some things off my chest that are stopping my mind from committing to a weekend off.

There have been some deadlines recently. One was announced to us by the PO of the team we would be working with on this deadline in the middle of February. The deadline was the beginning of April. The meeting was a kickoff meeting where the POs presented the problem and their ideas for solving them. None of us had talked about implementation beforehand and we were a bit annoyed. What followed was a story mapping where we crafted an MVP we felt reasonably comfortable getting done in this short time. We did. The other team did not. No one lost their job, everything’s fine.

We said the general process of this joint project was cool, just the very beginning with this sudden deadline felt odd.

We had another kickoff with another team for a joint project. Everything went well, there was a rough idea of getting the first version done in 2 12 months time which seemed totally reasonable. 2 weeks later, all other teams had a kickoff for a third joint project with a deadline of 2 12 months again. Which sounded crazy. 2 of the 3 teams involved are not done with their current project. One hasn’t even really started implementing anything.

Which brings me back to our current project. Which has been rushed along a bit by someone communicating the deadline in a weird way to the outside which puts some more pressure on us. And I just don’t think that’s good, ever. Pressure is not good.

A week ago we had a meeting to discuss the implementation of the second feature between the two teams involved. We decided to try out the Library Events Pattern and that we were going to start with this in the next sprint, with some preparatory work happening before. Which we forgot to do, because we’re still rushing to get the first thing done.

So we defined the events we’re going to implement on Friday. And sent them off to the other team to review until Monday. At the same time, we were finishing the last ticket for the first thing and did a lot of context switching. And the other team modelled something that I’m not sure fits what we have modelled. And now it’s the weekend and I come down from this adrenaline rush of having to finish things before I had time to fully reflect whether I have understood all the details. And of course my mind now bombards me with things we have missed. Or maybe we talked about this and I have just missed it or forgot because I’m so stressed?

So, what I have done in the past two weeks is:

  • objectively work too much, too many hours, too long into the night, too much “oh I should really finish/fix this thing” on the weekend
  • completely ignore everything else that’s part of my work as a junior developer aside from churning out features: reflection on what I have learned, making plans on what to learn next based on the unknowns I learned about during implementation, and just general learning time (I have a stack of books/articles I want to read)
  • feel guilty about ignoring the learning part and move this to the evening hours or weekends, thus working even more
  • wake up during the weekend nights because my mind is finally free to think normal again and remembers the things we might have missed and then ponder them for hours

How do I get out of this? Just stop working too much? And then what do I do if we miss the deadline? Feel incredibly guilty, I guess? Yell into the void a bit more about deadlines being bad? Hasn’t really worked so far. Talk about this in the retrospectives? It’s not really something we as a team can do anything against, aside from making sure we write even more down about the disucssions we have.

So for now I guess I’ll just keep venting here and on twitter. Let’s see if that helps.