Delegate non-core tasks

I’ve decided to simplify my life as a Developer. Up until last weekend, I managed my servers using one of the big providers, no more!

As simple as web server management is these days, there is always something to do; installing that extension you need, setting up SSL certificates, the list goes on.

As a solo developer, time is far more precious to me than money. I can always earn more money. I will never get back all the time it took to install the first certificate and setup up the web job to renew it.

Enter a service like Laravel Forge.

I click a button, Forge, instructs Linode to setup up a server and it starts provisioning. I click another button, automatic deployments from GitHub. I click yet another button, Lets Encrypt Certificate installed.

This post isn’t about Forge; I opted for Forge, I’m sure there are thousands of similar services for whatever stack you use.

The point is simple; it is always a good idea to delegate non-core tasks to someone else.

These days I use a service for server provisioning, another for web site monitoring, another for x, you get the idea.

Spend your time doing what you do best, working towards your goal. Let someone else deal with the day-to-day tasks that help but don’t directly contribute to that goal.

We all need a Development Manager

As a solo developer, it is easy to get lost in what you are doing and not necessarily working towards where you should be going. An excellent example of this is refactoring; “If I refactor this method/class, it will be easier to maintain.”

The chances are, if you smell an issue with a class or method, it needs to go through your refactoring process, it isn’t as though anyone else is going to do it, you are just one person.

The question is, does it need to be dealt with now? As developers, we are all guilty of wanting to refactor, and then persuading ourselves that the task is more urgent than it is.

I’m working towards releasing our SaaS product, mid-way through last year I decided I needed a little help to ensure I get to the release as efficiently as possible and not stray too far off target.

I decided to recruit the Wife.

Every Sunday, I gather all the tasks I’m planning to work on over the next week, the Wife and I then have a short meeting.

My Wife is not a Developer and has never worked in a field related to development. That doesn’t matter, all that matters is that your sounding board knows you.

I start by stating what I’m aiming to achieve for the week and then go through each of my planned tasks. For each task, I give a one-line explanation of what it is and how it will help achieve my goal. If I’m unable to provide a reasonable justification, or my Wife questions the validity of the task, it gets moved off the list.

Your sounding board needs to be someone that understands you. Your partner isn’t deciding whether you are working on the correct tasks, they are there to listen, you’ll both know if a task needs to go to the back of the list.

The longer you keep this up, the better the result.