Targets are funny things. When I get set a target by someone else, the person who has set the target is not always aware of the work involved to reach the target. Of course in this situation you have to sit down with whoever has set the target and re-negotiate.
However, when working as a sole developer, targets are set by you. If you are not writing a plugin to order, but for general consumption, you may even ask why you need to set a target? You may be at a point in developing your plugin when you do not yet have many users, and maybe you are developing the plugin as a learning exercise anyway? I would say you still need to have a target.
Without a target it is too easy to get distracted with other things you have to do (and I’m looking in the mirror here). There is
that call to the insurance company to make, or that drainpipe that has been broken for 6 months to fix.
But even personal targets are funny things. You have to be careful not to make them too huge but making them too simple can also be a problem. If the target is too huge then when you fail to hit the target it starts to become very tempting to give up. But conversely if the target is too simple then the procrastination pixie on your shoulder will tell you that you can easily do it tomorrow.
Targets also help to estimate the size of the work involved. This is important when working as a sole developer because the only motivator is yourself. If you have a target with a lot of work it is going to take almost inhuman discipline to get the plugin finished. A bit like trying to climb a hill in a 20 foot snow drift.
So have you set yourself a target for that template or plugin you are working on? Whether you have or you haven’t I would love to hear what you have to say about targets, so feel free to leave a comment about your experiences.