December 15, 2019

First 6 Week Retrospective

jki

I started a dev diary, and plan to post one article a week. The goal is to work completely in public, for accountability.

To kick it off, I published an article looking back on the first 6 weeks (time flies 😱). I look at the goals I set out for myself initially, and how I managed to fulfill them. What went right, what went wrong, and how should I adapt my cadence going forward.

The gist of it is, I realize I get sidetracked easily, and I spend time on non-essential work. This is something I need to get better at.

I failed to achieve all of my technical goals, and they were not all that clear in the first place. I need to be clearer with myself in what I want to achieve.

However, I did succeed occasionally in reigning in my yak-shaving habit, and overall I think I put in a good foundation for continuing work on this.

Finally, I'm publicly committing to my goals for the next status update, for accountability and helping myself not get sidetracked.

Specifically, by Feb 1, 2020, Very Good Finances will have the ability to edit a budget (whereas currently it only allows you to link bank accounts against a sandbox, and sync their transactions in the backend).

Going forward, I also plan to publish technical challenges or product challenges I encounter, not just retrospectives.

Thanks for reading. I hope it's interesting, and I'd be happy for any feedback! 🙌

https://blog.dev.verygoodfinances.com/post/2019-12-14-first-retrospective/

  1. 2

    Hey, congrats on your persistence and thanks a lot for sharing!

    Launching a weekly newsletter and creating a publicly available product (albeit with incomplete features) while at the same time being active in two online communities and having a job is impressive for 6 weeks!

    A question that I've been grappling with is whether you should aim for daily involvement in online communities. It's nice to receive feedback and build an audience, but is it not better to focus on finding customers and validating your product in a timely fashion? Have you considered trading some of your engagement online for having more private conversations with carefully selected potential customers and spending more time delivering a functioning product for them to test?

    1. 2

      Thanks 🙌 That's a very good question.

      You are completely correct in that there's no substitute for building the product. Notice
      that my goals for the next status update are sorted in descending importance, and
      building the product is priority #1.

      However, I know that if I only focus on building, I might burn out. I've noticed this again and again with projects I've started in the past. I give it 200%, and then I'm exhausted, and then I move to a different side project.

      So by having an explicit goal to diversify my efforts, I hope to trade in some
      short-term velocity for some long-term sustainability. When the product is more developed, that diversity might come (as you say) from looking for/engaging with customers more.

      I'll move slower, but I'll be able to sustain that rate of output consistently. I.e.
      a marathon, not a sprint.

      However, you are absolutely right that there's a risk of neglecting the actual building. It's a fine line, and I hope I'll be able to tread it carefully.

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