Building in Public January 16, 2021

"Should I be working on this?"

Derek @djhopper01

A couple weeks ago, I created a Trello card called "Setup papertrail for logging". I moved it to in progress.

Then I started browsing Heroku's add-ons and reading the documentation on Papertrail.

After a few minutes I asked myself, "Why the hell am I working on this?" I don't have any users. I don't have any customers. What do I need to log?

The lesson learned: Routinely ask yourself if there's something better you could be working on.

Once I have users, it's certainly possible I'll need aggregated logging. There's definitely value in being able to inspect what's happening in your product.

But, there are likely a million other things I should be doing before that. So I moved it back into "TODO" and dragged the card to the bottom of the list.

What's something better you could be working on right now?

  1. 3

    Hi Derek,

    I also have Papertrail active in my app "GetTheAudience" but I did it on day 1. It cost me only 5 mouse clicks and then it began to display the logs.

    I think even when I am the only user, it is important to have a look at the log so that I can learn what's happening.

    Example: A few days after I put the app live, the first bots came and were trying to hack the app while I was asleep. Well, good to see that in the log! :-)


    1. 1

      Matthias, you make a great point. It depends on what you think is important at the time. And that can vary from person to person. The best we can do is trust our judgement and learn from our mistakes.

      In the mean time, I may drag that papertrail card to done today. Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. 1

    Routinely ask yourself if there's something better you could be working on.

    Absolutely. Also wrote a post on this a while ago

  3. 1

    Nice point.

    I spent a lot of time to set up the ELK (Elastic-Logstash-Kibana) stack for Localazy with a custom format and an option to send critical messages to Slack.

    At that time, we didn't have users. My motivation was partly to have possible "issues" covered and to learn how to set up ELK.

    Over time, it proved itself to be one of the best decisions. Users started coming in, and from time to time, an issue occurs. Immediately, I head to Kibana to investigate it, and thanks to the custom format, I know when, where, what, to who, etc.

    It helps us to provide users with excellent customer service and turn small bugs into benefits.

    While reconsidering "should I be working on this" is extremely important, there are also unexpected/unanticipated pros and cons.

  4. 1

    I wrote a blog post about this "problem"

    Also, you might want to check simple DIE feature scoring framework so you can see what to work on next


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