Short projects are fun

I’ve been doing a couple two-week projects as a freelance developer. It’s quite fun, and it’s good training to do development projects on such a compressed time scale.

During the first day or two, you have to make sure that you’re in agreement on the specification. Then you have about a day or two to design the thing. That leaves you about three or four days to code, before you have to start wrapping up, iterating with the client to check if there were any misunderstandings, and test. After fixing a few bugs, you’re done. The client’s happy, you’re happy, everybody’s happy.

When the time’s so short, there’s not much room for mistakes. On the other hand, if there are mistakes, they’re quick to fix, because the investment of time is minimal.

It’s a very welcome change from the turnaround time of 9 months on the last project I worked on for ArsDigita.

Side bar: Don Baccus recently explained to me how the word “free lance” stems from the European middle ages, where free lancers were soldiers, equipped with lances, who fought for whomever wanted to pay them, as opposed to the other lancers, who would fight for a particular king. In other words, a mercenary.


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