Problems with Managing Tiny Projects

In the past, I mentioned my love for projects. I still love them, but I’ve found two reluctancies creeping into my mindset in the past few months.

1. The management paradox

The first issue I’m calling the management paradox. When we start a project, however big or small, we’re excited about the possibilities, the way it’s going to solve a problem and better our or other’s lives. It’s exciting.

What we don’t think of is what happens if it gets popular. Do we open source it? Do we let others contribute to make it better? Do we try to monetize it and make it our new company or job?

There’s a level of minutia that we don’t have to think about when we start projects until a tribe adopts it. Once that happens, we have a new problem – management.

2. Focus vs Spaghetti

This one seems rather easy to digest, but I’m going to mention it anyway. There are benefits to being unfocused at times. Creativity flows and dot connecting becomes easy. We start seeing relationships between things we hadn’t seen in the past. We start coming up with new ideas. It’s a great time.

But it has it’s problems too.

Building solution that comes to mind is fun. But doing something for 10 hours rather than 10,000 hours makes us a jack of all trades and a master of none. Our ability to push through the dip and get our projects some attention. Throwing spaghetti against the wall is definitely fun. Seeing if something sticks is fun. But if it does stick, it would be a good idea to be prepared to open the doors for others to see your masterpiece.


So I’m still all for projects. But, I’m also for measuring to indicate if you’ve hit success, and when you do, picking it up and running like mad. Just be forewarned about the pitfalls of projects too.

Split test your projects, take the ones that are working and focus on making them better.

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

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