I started 2018 with a grand plan of having 10 apps in the App Store by year’s end. I would split my time between developing apps and embarking on a new career in voice over. I had broken the plan down into four 13-week segments, each with a one week retrospective/break at the end. By the end of the 2nd quarter, it was obvious that my approach was not providing the visible gains that I expected. Only Gobo, an expense tracking app for iOS, was on track for release, with older projects stuck in Development Hell. The cascading effect was that my blogging had stopped as well (what was I going to write about if I wasn’t making “progress”?)
My frustration was growing. It wasn’t as if I wasn’t working every day. I had a daily standup, task lists and bi-weekly retrospectives. All for a one person team.
Could the problem be some flaw in my process?
It is too Agile? Not Agile enough?
Do I need to use storyboards? Should I write everything in code?
Should I use React?
Why was I even doing this in the first place?
This entire endeavor was self imposed. If I didn’t want to continue, I was free to stop.
So what was the point of it all?
I simply enjoy making stuff. Completed projects provide self-affirming feedback, further powering the confidence/competence cycle. It’s a drug with a potent, sustainable high.
So rather than packing it in and accepting defeat, I’ve decided to try a feasible middle ground, between the equally disappointing quarter length projects and the hackathon/death marches that left me physically and mentally drained.
80 Hours to MVP
Nothing earth-shattering. Any product idea has to become a deliverable product within 80 hours of starting.
And then it’s DONE.
Bottle it and ship it.
Why 80 hours?
While working on my 2nd app, GWTA, a simple transit app, I tracked my hours and saw that from the beginning to App Store submission, the process had taken me 79 hours. So I settled on 80 hours as a manageable time frame. It’s large enough to engage the entire creative process without feeling burn out. It’s also short enough to force design/development decisions to be made. GWTA doesn’t have all of the functionality that I wanted in a first version but it exists.
Done is better than perfect.
My next 80 Hours to MVP project is my work tracking/daily standup app, Puffin. I’m starting over with it, keeping only the app icon that I designed earlier this year.