Regardless of the reason for a development project being delayed, coming back to a project which has been “on the back burner” for a while seems always to raise questions about the project. For me the questions may start out with “Where was I on this before I had to leave it?”, to “Why on earth was I heading in THAT direction with this?” — or my favorite “What was I thinking!” (…usually an indication that I wasn’t thinking! ) . Besides the “lost” time of re-aquainting oneself with the project, there have been many projects for which the longer they sat, the more I just wanted to start over again.
As an independent developer I’ve always had to be working with multiple projects at a time, and somewhere deep down in my being, I wished that I could just have one project to work – from start to finish! The problem with that idea is that for one thing a custom application project never seems to end — mostly as the result of constant improvements being made to the application — or “tweaks” as one of my customers call them, so there is seemingly always something more to be done.
However, coming back to a project can be challenging. It can also be an indication to one as a developer of how much they’ve learned in the say, six months that a project sat without being worked on. This is a good thing! Whenever possible when I have identified that some previous work can be improved upon to simplify or somehow make the code more maintainable — if at all possible I make the change.
Another thing I have experienced after coming back to a stopped project is that very often I find that in the time lapse since last working on the project the needs of the user community for which the project is designed may have changed. Certainly it is imperative that before going ahead with any stopped project there be clear communication with users or as a minimum the person ultimately responsible for the project from the business need standpoint.
Coming back to a project can be exciting — but it can also bring new requirements, expectations and challenges.