Last year I successfully developed and released the first version of my game, Bullfrog. Looking back, I believe the two big factors in the success of that project were creating a project plan prior to having anything more than a rough idea of what the game was about and being limited to a hard deadline dictated by the Original Mac Games Contest.
Even though I know better, LicenseKeeper has been under development without any sort of plan or design. Probably, because the application is simple enough that I didn’t think a plan was needed.
The consequence is that development has not been as focussed or progressed as quickly as I would like.
The UI more evolved than was designed and became a bit confusing. The planned feature list exploded beyond what a first release should include and I had trouble deciding on what to work on next.
The lack of a hard deadline has been too forgiving and allowed me to procrastinate and often overanalyze my design or approach.
Fortunately, I feel that LicenseKeeper is finally coming around. After trimming the feature “wish” list and polishing the user interface it’s starting to feel like it’s getting close to ready for a 1.0 release.
I still have several major pieces of functionality to complete, but at least the feature list is now frozen giving me a fixed target to run towards. There still is no hard deadline, but hopefully momentum will carry me through to the end.
Future projects and versions will definitely have project plans and deadlines.