Iterations

Five days ago I was feeling overwhelmingly positive about App a Week. Now, not so much. I’ve almost completed this week’s app (a time & event history tracker called “Time Flies”), but I’ve decided not to post a demo this week – in fact, I’m not going to try and complete the app in it’s current form.

What’s the problem?

The problem is that I am finding myself getting in to a rhythm of rushing, taking shortcuts, and discounting good ideas just to meet my arbitrary deadline. All these things are things which I disliked about my previous work as a flash developer in a commercial environment.

One of my major goals when I decided to quit my job and learn iPhone development full time was to go back to practicing a measured, thoughtful, iterative design process. A deadline of 1 week, while highly motivating, simply isn’t enough time to do things properly. Sometimes it can be prudent to take shortcuts in order to release on a deadline, but this stage of my development is not the time.

I’m counting my 4 apps in 4 weeks as a relatively successful experiment. I’ve been forced to do a lot of coding very quickly (which has improved my Objective-C skills dramatically), and coding to produce stable builds at every iteration (a really useful skill). I’ve been forced to practice rapid idea generation and rapid prototyping techniques. But I haven’t produced any great apps, because trying to produce a great app in 4 weeks is kind of ridiculous.

So I’m going to call it off.

One of the positive outcomes of the last 4 weeks has been that I’ve seeded some ideas that I think I will be able to develop in to viable, saleable apps. But they are not apps that take less than a week to design and build.

So I’m going to take it more slowly for the moment. App a Week was worthwhile, it got me started, it was fun, but now it’s time to do things properly.

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