Day 15 of 30. That makes this the midpoint of my month-long blog-post-a-day experiment. Unlike many real-world projects, the goal of this one is deceptively simple: write one blog post a day. No complex dependencies, no stakeholder meetings or sign-offs, just me and my editor (which happens to be Ghost) and whatever happens to be on my mind.
Larger projects can feel like Zeno's Dichotomy Paradox, where you reach halfway and then halfway again, and before long you're in a morass of Milestone 3 a) ii) nonsense. This happens for a variety of reasons, one of which is the utter impossibility of planning the project 100% up-front: there are too many stakeholders, too many details, and any attempt to spec it all out would be indistinguishable from waterfall development. So you plan a chunk, and build, and learn, and iterate, and keep going.
This is actually OK! It's the essence of agile: your goal isn't to figure it all out now, but to identify your very next steps. The questions you need clear answers to. The parts you can build with what you know, and be pretty sure you're not wasting your time. In agile product teams, the solution to Zeno's Paradox is to reject the premise: a product is not a project, and there is no finish line short of total evaporation of the underlying user need or market.
The challenge, then, is feeling a sense of accomplishment and success. If it's never done, when do you celebrate? And if it's never done, how do your teammates learn and grow, and not feel stuck in a monotony of feature backlogs?
(Some ideas here: celebrate your first launch, of course, but also major feature releases, or significant improvements on metrics, or onboarding a key high-value user / group. Encourage teammates to take tasks across the product, even outside their usual role. Don't just sprint all the time, make breaks to pay down technical debt and explore new directions.)
Maybe that's part of why I enjoy this blog-post-a-day exercise: it feels definably different from the digital product work I do in my working hours, enough so to count as a form of active rest. Which is funny, because in a sense it's like the ideal form of monotonous backlog work, just put out this blog post each day and move the task to Done - but it's really not, though! I choose the topic, I choose the wording and approach, I can take detours to explore loosely related thoughts and resources. There's no deadline, no real consequences for missing or delaying a day.
Hell, I don't even know how many readers I have, or what they might think - there's no comment section to meticulously scrub offensive content from, nor any analytics dashboard to obsess over, no metrics to meet, no revenue targets, no Patreon hustle boilerplate to drop into each post. I'm quite OK with that. Not everything I do has to have monetary value. In a lot of cases, I think people can actually ruin what could be a good hobby by focusing too much on productivity or potential business value, and forgetting about the pure joy of building or crafting or writing.
So here I am, at the midpoint, not particularly caring that it's the midpoint, and being very content with that 😎