Beginner Product Management

At some point in High School I learned that finishing a creative thought is really hard to do. I remember performing a song I wrote to 1000+ people at a school talent show, and even in the green room before the show I was committing rewrites. Perfection is a fairly impossible goal, but as a creator it’s hard to settle for anything less; it’s hard to stop working on any project (well, deadlines help).

As I’m picking up this craft of software development, I’m trying to be even more deliberate about how I spend my time and on which material. As the pace of this curriculum accelerates, I need to achieve an understanding of every core concept as quickly as possible. This means not going on a deep dive of every fundamental, every time I start a new app. Many of the exercises on my GitHub at this point utilize very sparse CSS rules or none at all, and that’s because the curriculum places a bigger focus on JavaScript and manipulating the DOM (which is understandable, Bootstrap does a lot of work for you).

That being said, I have some work to do on my styling skills, especially after starting to get dirty with Bootstrap late last week. Tonight I’ll start building a personal website to showcase this blog and some of my major work from Nashville Software School. This personal project, along with several other large projects to come at NSS, will provide plenty of keyboard time to channel my inner designer and dig deep into stylesheets.

Anyway, lately I’ve found myself getting lots of “products” (read: classwork and other online exercises) up to the standards represented by the picture below…

mvp

…and it’s hard to put my name on this and call it a pizza. But I accomplished the goal, so maybe I’ll spend a little time refactoring my solution to add elegance and readability, I decide to move on. I understand that larger projects won’t necessarily offer this luxury, but having a constant focus on your minimum viable product is key to effectively distributing your time.

When I’m allotted a specific amount of time to complete a product, I focus my complete attention on completing the MVP ASAP, before any other features or styling. After MVP, you can assess your available time and make more intelligent decisions about which features would have the largest impact (and which are reasonably attainable). This can produce some unintended challenges later on–requiring you to refactor some code–but those are great learning experiences as well.

At the end of the day, I am proud of the quality of the time I’ve spent with software development, even though I don’t necessarily want to show off all of my apps. I’m still pretty far from having any sort of reasonable code portfolio to share with potential employers. But hey, for being a month in, I’d say I’m doing pretty good.

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