So, first, the exciting news. (Well, exciting news for me): I’m taking next week off!
This, of course, means I’ll be spending more time than usual on Buttondown, retreating to the figurative backyard shed.
I was poking around my roadmap finding a couple interesting tasks to work on with my time. I think I’ll be able to fully ship internationalization and the remaining marketing work, but wanted a nice meaty project for the back half of the week: revised billing? Multiple users per account? A redesigned writing interface?
Suddenly I was feeling a little overwhelmed with the options. I blogged earlier today about metrics and mentioned:
“Looking at the metrics” always seemed like a first-world problem in some respects: it signals that you have an empty roadmap or a surfeit of time to spend. When you’re dealing with a relatively small budget of engineering (and, well, all other) resources, you have to get a little craftier.
I think one of the externalities of this is that the “roadmap”, as it were, is pretty noisy. I’ve got around a hundred items: some are broad, unstopped epics, some are tiny bugfixes or paper cuts.
In general, I’m happier with my Notion setup than my erstwhile GitHub issues one, but it’s falling prey to the same detritus — there is too much noise and whenever I view it I get overcome with analysis paralysis, opting instead to tackle well-scoped problems rather than important but potentially open-ended ones.
I browsed How Notion Uses Notion for inspiration but it seems overly sanitary somehow, like the equivalent of viewing an Ikea showroom — can everything really be that neat? Maybe, like with the showroom, the problem is internal: I don’t spend the time to clear out and craft my backlog, and so no template or set of pages is going to change my fundamentally messy behavior.
One of the things I want to accomplish this week is a better sense of stability, and I think part of that will be re-conquering the backlog. It’s not obvious to me yet what that means in practice: it might mean just closing out a bunch of things as WONTFIX, and keeping the Roadmap solely as “here are interesting chunks of work to tackle”. (It is tempting to tell myself that this is re-arranging deck chairs rather than actually Doing The Work, but still.)
…Amidst all of this, this was a solid week for Buttondown. The new marketing site continues to do well, and even though I wasn’t able to devote as much energy towards forward progress as I’d have liked to I got an additional $150 in MRR. It is weird to be at the point where that number feels inconsequential!