Progress Reports

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An online friend @skyberrys asked on Twitter a very interesting question.

Hey Maker friends, how frequently do you share progress reports?

I thought that the 140 character limit on Twitter was a bit too short to form a reply, on top of which I thought it was a very interesting question so thought it was worth turning into a blog post.

Back in the year 2000, I had just started to get quite successful with my programming abilities and knew that it would be more than a hobby for me as this was the year that I had created and sold my first game engine. I had been programming from a very young age, originally starting with QBasic, moving onto Pascal, Visual Basic, and then just progressing on from there.

One of the things I had started to do a couple years after this was to publish blog posts with progress reports of either projects I was working on, or sharing with the world some clever code I had written. At one point I was receiving a lot of traffic to the blog with code snippets and I often had people emailing me directly, asking for help. Strangely, I had a separate blog for each type of content I was publishing and one of them for one of my bigger projects at the time received no real visitors, but I still published a minimum of 4-5 blog entries per week on it. Now these blogs had no code that I was sharing, nor anything of interest to anybody else (unless they had interest in using my project), it simply had screen shots, doodles, check lists of known bugs, fixed bugs, features required, features added, and an explanation of what I had achieved on the project at the end of each day. It was more for me than for anybody else, and because I had this blog, I could personally see how fast my work was progressing, which gave me both a sense of achievement as well as the will to continue working on it. I actually enjoyed working on this project, and loved to find and fix the bugs I found in it! In all honesty, I think this was probably the most regular progress reports I had published, and I actually miss that.

These days I start a lot of projects, and either finish them really quickly or get bored of them, put them aside and work on something else. By doing this, and not talking about it much online with progress reports, I do not feel the need to pick them back up and finish them off any time soon, and this is something I am looking to fix this year. I have made 2014 the year of getting things done, I have given myself an actual list of things I want and need to achieve by the year end, and am focusing all my efforts into doing just that. Some of them are easier than others, but I am still pushing through them all.

I needed to get myself some professional business cards so I can try appear more professional, and I have done that with the help of Mair Perkins. I need to update my website to be cleaner, more professional, responsive, mobile & and tablet friendly, as well as add a store so that I can sell directly rather than via third parties such as Tindie and Etsy exclusively (I will still use them, but prices will be cheaper from me directly to draw more traffic to me) - and I am working on this at present. I also have a list of electronic projects I need to finish and add to my new store once it is up, and I will be posting very regular updates once I start on these so that I can make sure that they get done and that people know what I am working on. There are a number of other things on my list, but I am not going to list them all as I feel I got the point across.

Progress reports, for me, should be very regular. Once at the end of every day that you have been working on something, even if you have nothing to actually show people, even if all you did was find 100 bugs which you have no idea how to fix, you should write about it. Give yourself a record of everything that you have done each day, if not to share with other people, then for yourself so that you can appreciate that progress has been made, no matter how small it may be some days.

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Published on March 22, 2017