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Crashing and Burning on Multiple Simultaneous Projects

Crashing and Burning on Multiple Simultaneous Projects

Our plan for the last few years has been to work on multiple projects at once. When Gregory worked full time on Future Proof projects, this kept them from feeling drained working on the same thing day in and day out. Now that we're both indefinitely part time, however, we're finding it near-impossible.

Our 2017 plans seemed reasonable. They were in line with what we've tried to do in the last couple of years, but incorporating the data from previous years: actual dev time for new Exploit: Zero Day story jobs, actual time needed for marketing, conference schedules, etc.

With that in mind, we set ourselves up to work on two high intensity projects and a low-key one: EZD, Majesty of Colors, and Rosette LARP, respectively.

When you slice three projects down into a mere 20 or so person-hours, however, you find that the idea of "percentages" goes right out the window. There just aren't enough hours, and all it takes is one evening spent unexpectedly (illness, impromptu social event, relaxation) to throw off a week. We've been really stressed about it, and we're behind on important business tasks and have poorer work-life balance as a result.

We've tried it a few ways for the last couple of years (using retrospectives and quarterly/yearly plannings to make revisions), and it's not getting easier or more successful.

Conclusion: this isn't working.

Majesty of Colors and Rosette LARP are both in their final stretches, but EZD's "Headless Swarm" still needs quite a bit of writing. For the time being, we're going to focus on Majesty of Colors and Rosette LARP to get those off our plate, then switch to "Headless Swarm" full time. Later this year, when EZD is in open beta, we'll pick our next project more carefully and with a mind to finishing a project before starting development on a new one.

This has been a hard lesson to learn, and maybe we should have learned it sooner, despite our iterations on the strategy. We'll also certainly be changing how strictly we assess the success of our strategies.

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