Making a Side Project

Published on Oct 11, 2017

Yesterday I tweeted that I’d be making one more “big” app before the end of the year. I asked if people preferred if I document the process as I go, or do a recap post at the end of the project.



The votes are in, and resoundingly you prefer that I document the process as I go.

I’ll be starting the project, I don’t know what yet, next week. Deciding what to make is part of the process, so you’ll get to see behind the curtain from start to finish.

I’ll be going a little slower than I usually go, because well I’ll be documenting things as I go. I want to give time for people to ask questions and share their thoughts on my decisions, maybe you’ll even change my mind on some things.

I typically building things with other people, but this one feels different, especially since I’m documenting everything. So I’ll likely be flying solo. I may ask for help or hire people for specific tasks I feel would be done better by other people.

The basic plan …

Photo via Glenn Carstens-Peters

💡 Ideation

Exploring a few different ideas, and seeing which ones are a good for fit for me to build.

5th Nov: Update: Part 1: Ideas

6th Nov: Update: Part 2: Idea Validation

🛴 MVP or Minimum Usable Product

Once we have the idea, I’ll be define a short list of features that will make the MVP. I do this next, because some idea’s can’t be kept simple, and we might have to go back to the start.

8th Nov: Update: Part 3: Minimum Usable Product

😱 Sanity Check

Is this idea, this MVP worth building? More importantly, is this a good thing for me to build right now.

9th Nov: Update: Part 4: Sanity Check

👶 Naming

We’ve got to call this baby something right? Picking a good name and matching domain. I might use something I already own, or I might be adding to my already large list of owned domains.

10th Nov: Update: Part 5: Picking a Name

🖥 Tech Stack

I have a preferred stack, but I believe in using the right tools for each project so I’ll be reviewing what I’ll be building and deciding what tech to use.

11th Nov: Update: Part 6: Tech Stack

🎨 Design / Branding

This is one of the areas that I typically work with a partner, and I might still pull in someone to help here, but I may design this project myself.

12th Nov: Update: Part 7: Design

⚒ Development

This really goes hand in hand with the design phase, if I’m doing both, but time to do some coding, the fun part am I right?

Not sure how much detail I’m going to into here, you’re not all coders? But we’ll see what the you want to see here.

13th Nov: Update: Part 8: Site Planning

14th Nov: Update: Part 9: Development Setup

🛫 Deployment

We’ve built our little project, but until we put it on a server that other people can access it’s not really done. I’ll discuss different hosting options, and the pros and cons of where to host.

17th Nov: Part 10: Hosting Options

📣 Marketing

I’d usually think about marketing the project a lot sooner (sometimes deciding not do any!), but I’m doing that already, right? Kinda off, maybe. I’ll discuss the marketing of my typical side projects, and maybe we’ll start some for this project.

26th Nov: Part 11: Marketing

🤔 Testing

I like to put the website in the hands of some early testers, so I’ll talk about how to approach people, to get feedback, and what to do with their feedback.

29th Nov: Making a Side Project, Part 12: Testing

8th Dec: Making a Side Project, Part 13: Fixing Bugs

🚀 Launch

The day we all look forward too! How to launch a side project, where to launch, and how to survive the day.

😴 Finished or Just the Beginning

A look back on the project, are we done, or is this just the beginning of a long journey?

Each step may be a single post or maybe more. I haven’t decided exactly where all this will be published, might make for a good e-book, which may influence how I write these posts.

For now best to follow me on Twitter, as I’ll be posting updates there for sure.

Glad to have you along for my makers journey, and looking forward to see what I make 😃