June 13, 2019

How do you keep track of what you want to build?

Sergey Shvets @sergey_shvets

As IndieHackers, we have a long-term vision of our dream product but have to start somewhere and only build a little piece of it. Are you keeping track of what you develop (and what you plan to get to later) in some way? Trello boards? Notebooks? Prototypes? Or keep everything in your head?

Related question, if you delegate tasks, what do you use to keep those in order?

#ask-ih

  1. 2

    Public Trello board with my co-founder. We're remote and it's the best way for us to collaborate and let our customers know what's coming up next. We stole that way of working from Buffer and Front who have public Trello roadmap too (but I suspect they have a private backlog?).

    I add Balsamiq mockups when it makes sense, and Bryan adds full designs.

    We also use our own tool to track our quarterly goals and priorities. So, the process goes somewhat like this:

    1. Check progress on the big things we want to do for the quarter
    2. Look at the backlog and see if we need to prioritize thing differently to achieve (1)
    3. Get stuff done
    4. Repeat every week

    If you're curious here's our roadmap and our goal-tracking app.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the very detailed response. I see your cards are high-level, do you have any internal more detailed documents?

      1. 2

        When something gets in progress we create a short spec that has

        • why
        • definition of sucess
        • user stories
        • lo-fi mockups
        • q&a (things to think about)

        User stories go to Jira once validated and we track development there. We don't use Trello for dev it's not great to manage backlogs with many items organized by epics.

        As much as possible we try to capture our thinking in the Trello card, but implementation details go in Confluence + Jira.

  2. 2

    I take lot of notes on my ideas.

    I used Evernote, switched to Notion.

    1. 1

      That seems like a common trend nowadays :) As a very long term user of Evernote I wait for them to step up their game to Notion's level. Are you a single user or share notes with a team?

      1. 1

        Single user.

  3. 2

    Notion.so + organised handwritten notes in Notability (iPad). The trick for me is to make diagrams/notes that cover multiple layers of a project - from bird's-eye view on main features to detailed overview of specific functionality. Combining this with Trello or similar tool helps to keep the big picture in mind but focus on specific details.

    1. 1

      Thanks! Are your diagrams of any specific type (e.g. UML?) or just something you can read and understand?

      1. 2

        It's either sequence diagrams to document interactions over time or simple rectangles with arrows for generic data flow or sequence of actions. Mind maps are extremely helpful as well. The process is very lightweight => no UML.
        What about you?

        1. 1

          I tend to write down my thoughts in the paper notebook + evernote for myself. The tricky part is sharing with the team and updating the notes when a product grows. That's the part I found requires a lot of discipline and skipped by a lot of teams.