The Idea 💡
Let me paint you a picture:
You are in the middle of taking the most relaxing shower you had taken in a long time. Amidst massaging your head to evenly apply the shampoo, all your neurons fired at once and you were hit with the most amazing idea ever! You rush to finish the cleansing, dry yourself, and start working on it ASAP.
"This is going to be the best product ever!" - you say.
The Flawed Creator 🧠
Our brain is an incredible piece of organic machinery and it is creative by default, ideas come to individuals naturally, from the most simple to the most complex, and some have a bit too many probably.
What our brain is not so good at, is storing those ideas efficiently and for easy access. How many times haven't I had an incredible idea to forget it afterward nothing short of 5 minutes. Many productivity masters realize this incapability of our center of operations and recommend to always have on hand some note-taking apparatus - digital or not.
I couldn't agree more (remember the 5-minute memory loss?).
Feeling Lost 😩
It isn't long before you start realizing how much there needs to be done that you don't even know how to quantify it yet. What was once a sweet little nifty idea is now starting to get overly complicated (at least inside your head) and you are starting to feel overwhelmed. If all goes wrong, within a couple of weeks, you give up on the project because you don't know where to turn next.
This process may have already happened to you once or on repeat. You have by now either learned how to control this inner affluence of information, or you are still lost in your thoughts. For the latter case, I hope this will help.
The Indie Developer Journey 💻
I believe many of us would consider ourselves to be some kind of an indie developer. After all, we do have our own side projects that we mainly work on alone. All projects are different, but they all follow the same journey from idea to conception. A list of steps can be roughly summarized by:
- Features - what does it do or allow others to?
- Design - how does it look? (good probably)
- Architecture - how does it function on the inside and out?
We certainly are not strong in all of the above steps, but we can still craft something on each level and come out with a working product.
The biggest mistake that the brave indie developer can do is to be all over the place.
The eagerness to be all hands on coding the new idea right out of the shower is understandable, you are extremely excited to get it going, but that approach normally leads to a black-hole of a lifetime of discarded projects.
Remember, our brain can't easily store all those great ideas and manage them efficiently. It gets them all mixed up and tangled, leaving you with nothing but a bowl of idea noodles when you try to process them all at once.
The Masterplan 🗒
The solution to being able to sail that ship home (I mean the new project to its final host) successfully is to plan ahead. Simple as that.
Splitting your tasks helps to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
If you spend a couple of side-project working days with the sole goal of organizing the development journey ahead, you will be able to lift 2 metric tons out of your shoulders.
The plan should still follow the aforementioned order. Start with defining your desired implemented features. The design phase follows next since you now know exactly WHAT you want to build. The architectural part can be last now that you know what information is required to store and access, and at what points in time.
The best way I found to organize my projects' requirements, is to use a drag-and-drop board that could either contemplate all the 3 stages at once or even have a board for each (probably depends on the overall application size). The most known tool for this is probably Trello, but my best heartfelt recommendation goes to Notion. At first glance, Notion might seem daunting to use, but once you get around to know it you will realize just how powerful it can be.
Don't forget that a nice pen and paper will also suffice!
- Our brain is great at coming up with ideas but terrible at storing them for easy access later.
- The biggest mistake that the brave indie developer can do is to be all over the place.
- Splitting your tasks helps to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
- Using some kind of drag-and-drop board to organize your tasks.
As always, if you enjoyed reading this and want to reach out to me, let's connect! @igorasilveira.
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