In most situations, I don't think that giving programmers deadlines makes much sense. If you assign a project to a mature adult, he or she should do it as quickly as possible without compromising quality. It is not as though a project deadline will make the work go any quicker or that setting an impossible deadline will allow a programmer to defy the laws of project reality.
And yet, I have observed that, for many people (myself included on occasion), having a deadline is critical for getting things done. When I have delegated or assigned work with no deadlines, the work almost never gets completed. For me, it takes a lot of self-motivation to finish some projects that don't have a deadline.
Do you think programmers should be trusted to self-manage their time, or do they need set deadlines to complete projects in a timely fashion? Share your opinions by taking the poll and commenting in the discussion.
Justin James is an OutSystems MVP, architect, and developer with expertise in SaaS applications and enterprise applications.