Five years ago I set out to make a product. Five years later I don’t have a product.
Four years ago I decided I wanted to start writing. I wrote one piece that nobody saw.
I look around at friends, peers, colleagues and admire their ability to start a project and then see it through. There are many reason and excuses I can give as to why I haven’t followed through with my projects. Some of those reasons are valid. Most of them are not valid. Bottom line is I should have been able to start and finish something in a five year time span.
Earlier this year I went to a fantastic conference called Release Notes. I heard a lot of informative and inspiring talks there. One in particular stood out to me. Rachel Andrew’s talk called Make Time for Your Project gave me hope and some tips to take to heart.
The first thing I took away from her talk was to start with something small. I am guilty of this in a big way. I have big ideas that have hard problems associated with them. The trouble with this is I’m not shipping. It would be much better to start small and build up over time then try to have it exactly the way I want it to be day one.
The second thing I took away from her talk was to set a timeline. If I don’t have a timeline it will be easy to never finish. I need to set a target date. Then take high level objectives and break them down into smaller and smaller pieces estimating the time they will take. Schedule out the work and then do it. I know how to do this from my work on other projects but have never translated it to my projects.
Which brings me to the last thing I took away from her talk. Treat my project as a first class citizen. I should give the same care and attention to my own projects that I would a client’s projects. That means setting a regular time slot to work on my projects and following the same processes I do for others.
With these items in mind this is exactly what I’m going to do this year:
- Start small
- Set small progress goals
- Give time and attention
This post is my commitment to follow-through on my projects starting now.