Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Hurry up and Wait

SkyTools 3 is done. Both editions were completed last week.

It's a bizarre experience. There I am working toward something that has taken four or five years to accomplish, depending on how you count it. As the final months come the days-off get fewer and fewer. As the final weeks come the days-off disappear completely and the work days grow longer. Constant coding turns into creating artwork for the packaging. The last few days become a blur. Code that was prepared months ago that is only used in the final product is at last integrated. The bugs continue to flow in from the test team and must be squashed immediately, even if it means a late night. Plans that were made years ago are put into motion. The website must be updated. Difficult but critical questions have to be answered, such as, "How many of each edition should I have made?" And above all there is that constant, ever present question: "Did I forget something?"

It all builds to that that final day when the final CD master is burned, somehow always only ten minutes before the UPS overnight pickup deadline. The package is sealed and raced to the drop. And then its over.

It will be two weeks of waiting before the packages are returned and we can start shipping.

People keep asking me, "Is it done yet?" and I just stare at them, dumbstruck. Saturday morning comes and I feel guilty for not getting up early to go to work. My desk is a mess. I guess I should clean it off now. The "to do" lists that ran pages every day now only run a page for the week. It is peaceful. Serene. But
that constant, ever present question remains: "Did I forget something?"

It's like a Shuttle launch but sort of backward. There is a slow ramp up of thrust that builds to the great deafening explosion of launch, followed immediately by an equally deafening quiet and a feeling of weightlessness... of drifting.

And of course, "Did I forget something?"