Top Ten Things I Hate About Crunch Time at a Startup
This is the evil twin of Getting to Deadline – Programmer Productivity Tips
Working for a startup can be interesting, challenging, and a great learning experience. But it can also be very, very frustrating and require humorous rants like the following just to keep you from pulling out your hair and the hair of anyone who has the misfortune to sit beside you.
The Internet is rapidly devolving into a Cosmo-like collection of top ten fluff pieces about nothing, and I know I’m part of the problem, not part of the solution, but that didn’t stop me.
Top Ten Things I Hate About Crunch Time
- Another summer has disappeared into the ether with nothing to show for it except pasty white skin.
- Friends and family who don’t understand that when you say “I’ll be available in November” you mean you’ll be available in November and no matter how many times they invite you to do things between now and then you’ll have to decline.
- Why are deadlines always set up so you end up working on national holidays and long weekends?
- Desperately trying to juggle entertaining relatives from out of town and tackling the workload.
- By the time the finally-absolutely-we’re-not-joking-this-time drop-deadline has come around, you’ve already been through 2-3 false finishes and are so burned out there’s no burst of energy to sprint to the finish line.
- The coffee does nothing. Absence of coffee is physically painful. You’re looking forward to Deadline Complete and being able to go cold turkey. Until then, you are seriously considering getting into the cough syrup like a character out of Microserfs.
- The unfounded optimism by management that Things are Finally Going to Get Done (like closing all of the bugs). The team is exhausted, I don’t think our bug fixing rate is going to magically improve beyond what it has been for the past six months. Especially if features are still being coded.
- “Going Postal” jokes around the water cooler start to take an edge, especially when the Eastern European guy who never says anything mentions he’s getting a UPS costume for Halloween.
- Geek Irritability Syndrome, as evidenced by this post.
- Paring down the feature list of “What has absolutely has to be tested for 1.0” for the Nth time.
- Eye strain is worse than carpel tunnel syndrome. It’s easy to find things to do with your hands other than typing, but very hard to try to find a relaxing activity that doesn’t involve looking at something.
- Anything is more interesting than working on the last dregs of the project that absolutely have to get done. You visit your dad’s blog for the first time.
- Work/life balance is dangerously out of whack.
- Not being able to count to ten properly anymore.
What do you hate about crunch time before a deadline?
(other than people whining about it on their blogs)
 Yet perversely you’re still miffed you didn’t get invited out to something there was no chance in hell you’d be able to go to.
 Or rather, why are deadlines always set up for juuuuust before long weekends so that they’re guaranteed to overrun them when they slip?
 I’m very impressed I didn’t make any obvious jokes about wrist and eye strain.
 Sorry Dad, but it’s true.
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