Over the past ten years or more, I've had several ideas for personal projects. Some were to solve a business problem, others as a way to learn a different technology and some even to hedge against needing to change careers at some point in the future. Coming up with an idea is not a problem for me, especially at work. It might be seen by some as disruptive but I am often an advocate for ripping up the rule book and starting again.
Despite having lots of ideas, converting that into a working project is rare, and finishing a project is even rarer. I think that I have a mindset something like a "lazy perfectionist". I want the thing I'm producing to be perfect, but struggle to put the effort in to learn everything I need to do that, and eventually it gets replaced by my next great idea.
My idea is a set of tools that I can use at work to help us get better at capturing requirements. Just some simple utilities such as checklists with guide words, asking five whys and so on. But why not make it into a little app?
The project is small enough for me to get started and would help me develop skills that I don't have much use for at the moment. Unfortunately, I have already gone right down into the weeds with this project. Rather than just getting a form built, I decided I needed to learn about CI/CD, API design, Svelte, Tailwind, Go, etc. And that's before going down the machine learning rabbit hole for another idea I had.
I was listening to a podcast lately – unfortunately I can't remember which one – and this idea came up in the conversation. The robust response to this problem is one I've heard before, but I hardly ever do it: just build it.
This time then, I am committing to trying to get something built. I still want to use the tools I've been practising, but I want to focus on the absolute minimum first. If I get something that works, I will allow myself to develop it further. Let's see how it goes…
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