The Last Mile

How to Spot and Tackle the Final Push in Development

June 10, 2024

As your project nears completion, there’s often a deceptive sense of ease that can settle among the team. It’s easy to think the bulk of the work is behind you as the remaining tasks appear minimal. However, this period — what I call ‘the calm before the storm’ — is crucial. Recognizing and managing this phase effectively can mean the difference between a good finish and a great one.

Recognizing the Calm Before the Storm

In many projects I’ve led, I’ve noticed a distinct lull as we approach what seems like the end. But often, it’s not really the end. Here’s how I identify this critical phase:

  1. A Little Bit of Work Remaining: There are always a few tasks left undone. These aren’t just any tasks — they’re typically the ones no one wants to tackle because they are tedious or less exciting.
  2. A Relaxed Development Team: It might seem beneficial to have a relaxed team, but this can be a red flag. If developers are not actively seeking new tasks and seem to be waiting on others to pick up the slack, it indicates a loss of momentum.

Strategies for the Final Push

Once you recognize you’re in this final stretch, it’s time to galvanize your team and push through to the finish line:

  • In-Depth Testing Session: Sit down with your team and go through every aspect of the project. Encourage everyone to report every bug, no matter how small, and any tasks they think are unfinished. This helps compile a comprehensive final list of what needs to be done.
  • Documentation and Prioritization: Have one team member document every task, suggestion, and bug found during the testing session. Prioritize these based on urgency and impact to ensure you are focusing on what truly matters first.
  • Realistic Rescheduling: If timelines seem too tight, don’t be afraid to adjust them realistically. This doesn’t mean extending deadlines arbitrarily, but rather ensuring that the team has enough time to address critical issues without rushing.


The last phase of development doesn’t have to be a storm. With the right preparation and mindset, it can be a productive and even enjoyable part of your project. You’ll know you’ve successfully completed the project when the only tasks that remain are minor suggestions rather than necessities, and your team is proactively looking for new tasks. By recognizing and managing this final push effectively, you ensure that your project crosses the finish line with excellence.

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