October 6, 2012
Why Do We Dump Our Greatest Projects?

Over the past couple of years I worked on countless projects, some got released and most got lost one way or the other. When I look back, I realize that those “most of my projects” that got lost were the best among all the projects I worked on, in terms of usefulness. I had some time to think about them to see the reason they got lost and came up with some quite generic reasons we think we are aware of but actually are not.

Reason #1: Working on so many projects at the same time

Just like everyone else, I enjoy working on a handful of projects, I really do because I always thought it was something that motivated me to do greater things. While I still think it seriously motivates to work on more things, I realized that over the time it actually starts to demotivate you. This is actually a result of reasons #2 and #3 as you try harder to work on all those projects simultaneously; the amount of work that gets done, your enthusiasm and your motivation gets split.

Reason #2: Spending ages to build a prototype

This is probably where most of us get bored of our projects. We are building prototypes as if they will be final products. Surely it depends on the complexity of the project you are working on but mostly it is not impossible to build a prototype in a week. After all, a prototype is something you should completely get rid off immediately after you get some feedback regarding your project.

If you are building a prototype that can be used as a base for your project, then you are a bad prototyper.

If you are building on a prototype you should have dumped, then you are a bad programmer.

Reason #3: Consistently postponing the release date

Assuming that you are not building a complete ERP solution all by yourself, you don’t need to worry about making changes after the release. You will have plenty of time until your product gets some traction, so just make sure the key features are there and you should be good to go.

There is a great read regarding this, by Matt Mullenweg of WordPress: 1.0 is the Loneliest Number.

Reason #4: Working on things that do not teach something new

I absolutely hate working on things that do not teach me or make me learn something new. It’s just pointless and secretly demotivating, nothing else. At some point in time, you will dump your project because of this very reason or because of a reason that is a result of this reason. You can either stop today and move onto another project of yours or just waste your time for nothing. It’s your call.

I wrote all of this down as a note to my future self. It’s both sad and great to see your bad habits. It’s sad because you see how you wasted your time for no reason for a really long time. It’s great because you can finally get rid of your bad habits and move forward.

I’m happy to realize all these things about myself at an early age and I hope I don’t repeat these mistakes again.

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