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Poll: How many development projects can you handle at once?

You may not want to turn down development work, but you also don't want to take on so many projects that things go off the rails. Developers, what's your project threshold?

I recently got myself into a bit of a bind. I had started a lot of projects, but then as soon as I got some traction on them, another project popped up and took priority. The next thing I knew, I had a stack of about seven major undertakings, as well as working with my day-to-day emergencies and queries. The upshot is that all of the "context switching" was killing me, and I had to refocus my energies on one project at a time to clear the backlog.

I think that three major projects is my threshold before things go off the rails. How deep can your development project pile get before it's too much for you to handle?

J.Ja

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

8 comments
caro31
caro31

I've had as many as 5 at once. Max project for me.. pneu pas cher

jck
jck

I've had as many as 9 at once. Some were maintenance, some were enhancements, and a couple were new developments. I try to keep fires out on the maintenance side. Those tend to be the biggest problems if let go for too long.

milind_india
milind_india

More than the limit of 'two' will certainly affect to the software itself as a human being its not possible to juggle over multiple applications and their multiple complexity of the problems. If you are managing near about 18 projects, then be sure to get everything veried by atleast 3 different teams. Again, you have to segregate separate time for suggested changes and some bugs (if any) to rectify the previous changes. Think also about your health (Physical + Mental). Remember: Health is wealth, if your mind is happy, your software is happy, ultimately client is happy.

D0c
D0c

Anymore and deadlines will suffer for me. Continuous re-prioritization, even benching some projects is a reality in most enterprises, but it depends on changing needs and on the money of stakeholders.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

After that , I won't be able to spend enough real time on any one of them to get anything useful done. Even at three, one will be an R & D back burner, one will be just ramping up and the other in debug / testing. Have three gouing simultaneously and after chopping out admin meettings, getting back up to speed (development is micro-focused after all), you are talking a day a week on each. Hardly worth the accolade of project at that point...

rob.johns
rob.johns

As far as major projects are concerned, 3 is quite enough. SAP on z/OS, IBM Content Manager on z/OS and implementation of some BMC DB2 products. However, I do keep a list of little tasks that is about 30-40 deep in case I get a free moment.

Alpha_Dog
Alpha_Dog

My limit was around three to five projects, but with the right project management package that number increases... by a lot. Right now I am juggling 18 projects using Project Pier for collaboration, task management, and time tracking, and i am not at my limit. For programming projects (my work is primarily at the firmware / hardware / mechanical level), there are other packages which have the source code management (SCM) which Project Pier lacks. We use Trac to support the software developers, logging only the critical path milestones in Project Pier to keep duplication to a minimum.

Justin James
Justin James

Don't you find it tough to go back to code that you were in the middle of working on and then had to stop working on? That's a big challenge for me. J.Ja

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