Stressful Development Projects

Dealing with stressful development projects

At exactly 11:34am this morning I became temporarily homeless.

In January this year, my wife and I decided that it’s time to move our family from Pretoria to Cape Town, here in South Africa. And so we put our house on the market and it sold a lot quicker than we thought it would (in the first week of being for sale).

In South Africa it takes around 3 months for ownership of a house to transfer from the seller to the purchaser and today our transfer was completed. I no longer own my house and we’re currently staying with my inlaws until our new house is ready.

It also happened to be the day that we had organised for a removal company to come pick up all our goods and shove them in to a container in the middle of nowhere until we can move in to our new place in Cape Town, on the 1st of June.

On a stress scale of 1 to 10, today was definitely a 10. A lot went wrong with the move and things didn’t really go to plan. In fact, the movers have to come fetch more of our furniture tomorrow because it didn’t all fit in the truck. In-between trying to organise the move, I was trying to get some work in too.

As I was watching the day unfold and trying not to tear the little bit of my remaining hair out, it reminded me a lot of some of the development projects that I’ve worked on in the past.

Stressful development projects

Development projects usually don’t go to plan. Just like my move, things never follow the exact path that you’ve imagined in your head. Curveballs are thrown and you need to navigate around them.

Stress levels rise as things don’t go according to plan and it can all be quite overwhelming. I’ve been on projects in the past where I’ve been pushed to breaking point, kind of like I was today.

Feeling stressed about a project has seriously consequences. It can effect your ability to execute well, it can effect your relationships both personally and professionally and it can also effect your health (something I found out at the end of last year).

During my move today there was various times where I got seriously frustrated and it had a negative effect on the overall process.

What I learned today though, and the same can be applied to development projects, is that the as soon as you accept that things will not go to plan, the less frustrated you will be and you will also be much better at handling the different fires that need to be put out.

By knowing and accepting that there will be curveballs, you can anticipate them and easily navigate around them. If you are flustered and stressed about a situation, it becomes really difficult to handle it in a positive light with a happy outcome. Negativity breeds negativity and the same is true for positivity.

It’s definitely not always easy. Clients can get frustrated, managers may shout and people may be disappointed but at the end of the day, a stressful situation is what it is and you have 2 choices on how to deal with it. Accept it, learn and move forward or beat yourself up.

By the end of today, I had accepted the situations for what they were and tomorrow I will wake up and worry less about what may go wrong. By Thursday, everything will be in storage and I will probably have forgotten about all the stressful situations that came up the two days before and focus on the fact that the my possessions are safely in storage and ready for transporting to Cape Town.

So try to accept the stressful situations you find yourself in when working on development projects, deal with them to the best of your ability and know that you’ve done everything you can to make it right. You’ll feel less stressed and be a better developer for it.

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