Cal Evans is back with the latest part of his "Be a Better Client" series of posts focusing on how the person asking for the work to be done can interface with those doing the work more effectively. This time his recommendation is about deadlines.
Regardless of whether it is a large or small project, don't set one final deadline, set regular milestones. If it' a week-long project, figure out what will be delivered each day and set daily milestones. Larger projects will have them spaced out more but either way, make sure that you have them at regular intervals and that all major deliverables are assigned a milestone.
He points out that a single deadline only does one thing - lets the project know when to be done. It shows absolutely no progress along the way. Milestones are much more effective at this.
Make sure your developer is reporting back to you on a regular basis. At the very least you should have a status meeting at each milestone to make sure it was hit. For larger projects you will need meetings between the milestones to make sure the project stays on track.