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.
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Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.