On Finishing a Project

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It’s really hard to complete a personal project. I personally have many Github repositories that only contain smallest bits of code that never managed to even to make it into anything even resembling a project. Code that was long ago planted in the hope that it would grow into a finished product. It isn’t that I don’t have the ability to finish projects, but rather that I lose interest in or come to the conclusion that I don’t have the skill set to make it work. However, after spending most of the summer working on a mobile application called Sentiment, I have a couple of new thoughts on what it means to “complete a project”.

Responsibility

The projects that never quite take off for me are always the personal projects that I begin work on in private. In a group, there is always a level of responsibility held by each group members that can serve as motivation for completing the project. However, when working by yourself on something that only you know about there is no such responsibility. If you fail to complete the project, there are no consequences. Working with a group on this application reminded me that having a measure of responsibility for a project can go a long way in helping you to complete it. Even though the projects I work on are mostly solo, I can still use this idea of responsibility to help me finish them by simply reaching out to friends about my progress to create expectation for me completing the project.

Reevaluation

Almost every project that I work on succumbs to feature creep. Before I really know what it is going to take to complete the project I find myself ambitiously increasing the scope of the project to a level that I soon find that I can’t complete. During the course of working on Sentiment, the time constraint that was leveled upon our group meant that we truly had to limit our scope in order to make sure that we could even come close to finishing our application. As a result, even though we ended up significantly reducing the scope of our application, we were able to complete it. Because many of the projects that I start work on have no such time constraint, there is nothing that is truly stopping me from bloating it with as many features as I want; thus eventually leading to me never completing my project. As such, I think that even on projects that have no motive for limiting features it is wise to keep this idea in mind in order to constantly reevaluate what has to be done so completing the project is at least a possibility.

Relatability

Out of all of the takeaways about finishing projects that I gained from working on Sentiment, I think that this one is the most important. When our group started work on Sentiment, I found myself really passionate about finishing the application mainly because it was something that I really cared about. Our application focused on mainly on providing mental support to the user, and this mission is what provided a large majority of the motivation for the project. By starting with a premise that I really cared about, I was able to develop the motivation to complete the project as I knew that it would be able to help people. So when working on a project, I think that it is really important to work on something that you care about in order to have even a little bit of a reason for finishing it.

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👋 My musings here are basically a public stream-of-consciousness journal, so please forgive my writing: it’s getting better, I promise.

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Connor Sparks

Connor Sparks

👋 My musings here are basically a public stream-of-consciousness journal, so please forgive my writing: it’s getting better, I promise.

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