I wonder what the best approach while working on personal projects is. Should I be concentrating on one project at a time? Is working on multiple projects, not a fruitful approach? When I look at my projects, I often consider them as a work in progress. Since I spend a lot of time reading and experimenting with different technologies, I often feel that I could incorporate new ideas into them. Sometimes, when I develop and test some of these ideas, I could still consider them as a new project.
What is a project? Alternatively, in my case, what is a personal project? Is it time-bounded like the regular industrial projects? Does it have precise tasks?
Most of my projects started after encountering a problem in real life. I work on them during my free time and it would be very difficult for me to propose a clear plan with a timeline of tasks. When I look at these projects, the mission and vision statements are very clear. Am I missing the exact term for something that I have been calling ‘Project’ so far?
Before continuing this article, I need to precise the term ‘Project’1 . I define a project as an incremental set of non-predefined tasks with or without deadlines to achieve a mission guided by a vision. With this definition, I can confirm that for every personal project, the following aspects are clear:
- Mission: the objectives of the project
- Vision: the future direction
However, the following aspects related to tasks are not clear:
- What are the tasks to achieve the mission?
- How long will it take to complete each task?
Hence, I added the notion of an incremental set in the definition. With this definition, I must now comfortably state that I work on multiple personal projects, instead of working on a single project. Working on multiple personal projects has helped me to share ideas across the projects. While programming, this approach helped me to identify some common features. Some of these common features have also become must-have features for my projects. Working on multiple projects helped me to discover some links among them, something that remained unknown at the time of their inception.
However, I often wonder whether my projects are progressing slowly. It is yet very difficult to identify the metrics for my project. Living in a rapidly evolving technological world, we often tend to use a jamboree of hyped words from every domain to every project. Therefore, even though a project has been able to achieve a mission at a given point in time, it could be still done better in an efficient way. This vision of building my projects better guides me and I add new tasks. Is this how companies work? Do I need a disruption to my approach to be more innovative?