One of the ideas I picked up from our colleagues at the NYC Planning Labs while we were at the Code for America conference was to build a ritual of spending one day a week where we show off our work. The idea behind this ritual is to give us something to strive toward. We want others to understand our work better so we are planning to open up our Friday demos to the rest of our department after we have done them a couple times. Instead of having big deadlines at the end of a project we can now triangulate our work towards these smaller goals.
The other upside of this ritual is it enforces some accountability. In order to demo we need to have software that is up and working on a staging server. So we no longer are putting off the deployment step until later in the software development cycle. It also gives us a gentle nudge to consider some user facing features and changes instead of focusing merely on technical improvements. No longer will we wonder what our co-workers have done all week.