How Do You Vet Your Ideas?

One of the challenges of working in the development space is being able to separate your good ideas from your bad ideas.

By that, I mean that most of us who enjoy doing what we do probably have a ton of ideas and pet projects that we’d love to get started on, but there always seems to be several hurdles that crop up.

  • We’re either sidetracked by client work which is good because we need to pay the bills
  • By existing projects which generally require maintenance
  • Or by the time that we actually get to work on what we want to do, we’ve convinced ourselves that it isn’t worth doing or we’ve lost the motivation to do it. What is that?

Then again, maybe this is just me – but I doubt it.

Defining Ideas

Vet Your Ideas

The first challenge that I think many of us have is determining whether or not an idea is with pursuing. For example, it’s easy to come up with an idea for a project.

It’s easy to come up with 10 ideas for projects.

But how many of them are definitely worth pursuing? And by that, do we even measure ‘good’ by the same criteria?

For example, some projects simply give back to the community. That’s a Good Thing, right? Others may be an attempt to monetize in order to provide a level of small, residual income. That’s helpful; therefore, that’s a Good Thing, right?

Then again, there are some projects that are simply worth doing because of the innate sense of bragging rights we’d receive from releasing it. Is that a Good Thing? I’m not sure – but it’s still a criteria by which we gauge our projects.

Vet Your Ideas – But How?

Generally, here’s how I go about it. If the project is something that:

  • Will prove useful to the community at large – monetized or not – then I opt to work on it
  • Is born out of another project and that can possibly be monetized, then I’ll opt to work on it
  • Solves a personal problem and/or that is fun and that I have the time to manage, then I’ll work on it

Otherwise, I generally opt not to do it. In fact, I’ve killed projects out of the fact that I no longer wanted to work on them despite the fact that they were fun for a time and that some even provided some level of small residual income.

But the process repeats itself: there’s a plethora of ideas that I have that sit on the back burner for other priorities.

So with all of that said, I’m genuinely curious how you guys vet your ideas.

2 Replies to “How Do You Vet Your Ideas?”

  1. Re: Losing motivation to pursue an idea
    I think that losing your motivation to pursue a particular idea is a natural part of the creative process. Inspiration flashes up, grabs us, and eventually subsides. It’s genuine inspiration that will create the momentum to create something worthwhile.

    1. I agree – there’s a psychological term (that I forget) that deals with the idea of a ‘spark of inspiration’ and how the excitement of it wears down over time.

      I’ve definitely found that the best ideas don’t go stale. This is true even more so when you’ve got a team backing you up working on the same thing.

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