I am an expert at starting projects. I mean like a super expert. I know everything to do. The methods of getting started sometimes change. Sometimes I start with a pen and paper. Sometimes I make a digital wireframe. Sometimes I open a text document and start writing what the app is and what it does.

The point is that I have nooooo problem starting. I have tons of apps that I have started. The team I work on is pretty good too. We are actually eager to start something new. Everyone is happy. One might even say giddy to get started.

But. As with thousands and thousands of creative people, finishing is an issue. It’s that last 10%. And worth mentioning that 10% varies by project. But it’s that last little bit that goes on forever.

I wish I knew the solution. It’s actually kind of depressing. It even effects me in my day job. I guess I take that responsibility on.

I’ve been spending some time thinking about finishing. I have a couple of conclusions.

I think creative people that have trouble finishing, have trouble with the following:

  • Shipping feels final. Especially for client applications. For me, when I say something is done, I feel like I am saying this is the best I can do. That’s never the case. I can always do better.

  • Done brings judgement. Similar to the previous point. Judgement like this is great, but it doesn’t do x.

  • And a general punch list of things that have been discovered and need to be added.

In other words: I always feel like I could do better.

I think I have a solution. It’s goal setting. I know I know, booooring. But it’s the best I got.

Agile brought this idea that software projects never finish. And that’s true. Completely. But since then, I’ve worked on very few projects with a defined timeline, or even a loosely defined timeline. All of my side projects have no timeline. I don’t think about what done looks like. I don’t think about when that should happen. And I sure don’t track my progress and course correct.

Day job is a little different. I do think about what done looks like. But we often lose that at about the halfway mark. We still ship, but we don’t finish as well as I’d like. We can better. Much better.

I’m going to try and make better milestones/timelines for some side projects and see what happens. I need to define some goals for codecation. Seems like a good starting point.

Maybe I should talk about it publicly. Nahhhhh. That’s too scary.