I design, I develop, I make


A maker based in Upstate New York.
Turning ideas into applications.

© 2024 Mubashar Iqbal

Making a Side Project, Part 4: Sanity Check

November 10th, 2017

Have you read Part 3 of the Making a Side Project series?

Now that we’ve defined the Minimum Usable Product, before we fully commit to the idea, we do a quick sanity check to ensure we still think this is a good idea.

Is the Minimum Usable Product (MUP) useful

Sometimes the MUP is so small so specific, it achieves the goal, but isn’t really that useful to the user.

Thankfully I don’t think this is the case here. A user will be able to easily track all the expenses they incur building the project/startup, and this is very useful!

Can I do it in the time I have

This is something to consider for both the time it will take to build the MUP, and the time you have available due to other commitments.

Sometimes this means delaying the project, or going back and rethinking the MUP, could we do things differently to save time. Or perhaps getting more time to work on the project, pushing back other work.

I’m doing the hackathon so I have the time, and enough time to build the features we outlined for the MUP.

Is this a good project for me now

Timing is an invisible factor that can have a huge impact on the success of your project. A good idea, with the right team, can fail due to timing, and sometimes just making something at the right time can overcome other failings.

I think Startup Expense Tracker (can’t wait to come up with a better name) is good idea for me right now. It’s becoming increasingly clear from the response that people need a product like this. I need product like this too. We’re just around the corner from tax time in the USA, which would be a good time to promote this product.

Doing this build and launch during the Product Hunt hackathon also seems like good timing. I don’t think I could find a better group of potential users than those taking part in the hackathon, and those that launch on Product Hunt every day.

All around the timing seems good.

Good team?

If I’m building with others, I have to consider the same things for the other team members. Does the team have the necessary skills to build what is necessary, do they have the experience in the industry that will ensure a successful launch.

In this case it’s me! I freely admit I’m not the best designer, marketer, writer even. Just remember, we’re building the MUP. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it won’t be perfect. Working with others can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, but it also can be a drain on your time. Scheduling meetings to discuss the project, waiting for tasks that your dependent on to be completed before you do your tasks. All this eats your valuable time.

I believe when building the MUP of a side project, a team of 1–3 is ideal, anything more and while the project might not be late yet, Brooks’ law still applies.

All things considered, this passes the sanity check for me. Let’s keep going!

Next: Making a Side Project, Part 5: Picking a Name