Finishing a programming side project

One of the most common things I hear when talking to other programmers is that they struggle to finish their side projects. Many have multiple apps that have gotten about 50% of the way completed, and then were abandoned for the next side project. If this is starting to sound familiar don’t fret — we all do this sometimes, and while I haven’t solved this issue for all of my programming projects, I want to tell you what I have learned to help me start to fix things.


1. Figure out your motivation for building what you are building.
We build side projects for many reasons, so it’s best to always keep in mind what our end goal is with the side project. Are we trying to learn a new language? Automate a task to make our lives easier? Win an argument? Get job experience in a certain technology? Work with a friend on something cool? Depending on what our answer is, our definition of “completing a project” will differ, as will our motivation to actually complete the project.

An example I can recall is a small website I was building to win an argument. It was a neat concept, and novel, but my motivation for building the site stemmed mostly from trying to convince a few people they were wrong.… (Read More)