My fiancée works as a visual effects producer and she often carries the heavy weight of a rigid deadline in her day to day work. After all, shows like Lost in Space or Game of Thrones can't be pushed. This means lots of over hours and weekend work when approaching the deadline. When we talk about the difference of her projects compared to mine where deadlines can be moved or products are "ready when they're ready", the project "ending" always stands out to me.
In software, nothing is ever finished
When you release version 1.0 of your app/website/product, the work is just starting. Bugs roll in, feature requests arise... the user demands updates. Fast and big. My fiancée on the other hand finishes a project and is effectively done with it. It's on Netflix or in the movie theater - there are no updates. And boy, do they celebrate those releases. They go to premieres for it, per continent, country and city, they celebrate box office success, reviews, ratings and watch the finished movie with the whole team. They meet the actors and other important figures behind the scenes, dress up and walk down a red carpet. It is fantastic and an earned appreciation of the sweat and tears in the weeks leading up to the deadline. They might even get industry appreciation through an Oscar, Emmy or similar.
Have you ever celebrated a milestone in software?
This is something we can learn a lot from. You have some milestones defined - a big feature, a major version, an important release... but have you ever really celebrated it? It's something more and more teams seem to lose as software releases become frequent and routine. Wouldn't celebrating some big releases create a lot of positive atmosphere in the team? It gives everyone the feeling that the work paid off. That your efforts matter and that you all together worked towards this common goal. I recommend trying it with the next bigger milestone. When it's shipped - doesn't matter how successful, get a beer with your team, bring cake or get them some funny mugs to celebrate the recent accomplishment - especially if it took extra effort. I always try to remember that it is just as important to celebrate success as it is to work for it.
So, how about you try it as soon as possible, maybe even this week? Celebrate a milestone!