I made a survey on finishing personal projects people start, and was hoping to gauge what people think. It's something I struggle with and am learning to get better at. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.
Filled it out. I find that the root cause of this is down to distractions like the internet and music (for me). They cause you to work slower, which means you get less done. What should have been a small project ends up taking ages to get anywhere. I recently have been unplugging the headphones and Ethernet cable, and forgetting the WiFi network on my PC. It's shocking the amount work you get done when you just focus with nothing to get in your way.
Thanks for filling it out. Internet is a big thing for me. I find turning wifi off helps me a lot, if the startup of turning back on is enough of a hinderance. Leaving the text editor continually open is a great motivator for me. Also having limited time blocks to work on stuff helps me get more done.
I'm having a hard time answering this survey because, how I see it, there's a lot of ambiguity in whether a project is finished or not. For example: on one hand, you could say I don't have any finished software projects, because none of the projects I've started have ever reached the vision I had for them - they're all missing major things I wanted them to have. On the other hand, you could say that I have a lot of finished projects, because I have a lot of projects that I don't plan to come back to and which are left in a respectable and stable state. They work, they look finished from the outside as long as you don't compare them to the design doc (which sometimes only exists inside my brain), but they're only a small part of the larger thing I had in mind.
How do I classify those projects? They're not really "finished" or "unfinished". At best, they're "finished until revisited", or "finished until I decide they aren't". But then, can't most or all projects be classified the same? I guess I'm not sure that such a thing as "finished software" really exists in a meaningful sense.
Thats a good point, and it is a bit ambiguous. I think it's probably more of a self reflective thing, where asking "if I'm honest to my self did I finish the project to the best of my ability", and "Could I have done more with the project". It'a hard to quantify or have a good metric for, because you might have started something with the intention of just seeing how it goes, or experimenting with this one thing. I think for me it's come up for trying to be self employed. If I'm trying to make money with my projects, am I reaching a state where the project is sellable, usable by the public. I guess are you reaching your original intention for the project (for me releasing it on the app store or on steam etc.)?
I'm probably comparing writing software to like writing a novel or making a movie, which may not be the best comparison. And completing it means having some finish point where you stop working on it and release it to the public. And this means, not altering things, and as the 'artist', choosing when something is 'done'.