I’ve been working on a project at work for the past 8 months. For the past 8 months the entire project has been extremely overwhelming, not just for myself, but for my whole team. This is the kind of project that burns people out, that makes people quit, that makes people crazy. While this this project started with a focus, it has lost it’s path. It took on too much promise. It was expected to solve for things that it never was meant to solve for. It was asked to do something it couldn’t do, and so because of that, it could never be finished. Always a work in progress.
Projects take on the personalities of the people building them. They are the literal manifestations of the anxieties and fears of the people creating them. Projects with no goals and restrictions can ruin people, teams, and products. When a project doesn’t move forward, it’s internalized. It becomes a burden on the people working on it, and they become a burden to the people they work with. Aimlessness allows too many reason to never finish. This makes people feel like they are failing, not just at work, but at life. Sometimes people on that project leave a company, looking for more “meaning” in their work. Sometimes they stay at a company, feeling like a victim of the oppression of their own failure. No matter where they go, if they do not find a way to complete things, they will never be happy.
There is always room for improvements. When you are working on a project that has a specific vision and goal, keep track of your ideas in an additional features docs. Second, third, fiftieth iterations. Write them down, think about them later. Don’t let them interrupt progress.
Ship things. Be happy, not perfect.