Photo (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by alohaorangeneko (Flickr)

“Side Projects” or “Small Products”?

I’ve always had some number of “side projects” going on — some went no further than sketches of a user interface or flow chart, some developed into commercial applications or revenue generating websites (probably by a ratio of about 500:1).

As I’ve gotten more and more into the startup space as well as corporate “Digital Product Management”, I think a shift to thinking about “side projects” as “small products” is in order.

The main pivot here is that instead of just building that crazy idea you want to build, share that crazy idea earlier in the process and get input! Obvious, I know, but it means not being dismissive of an idea because “Oh, it’s just a side project…” instead say “I’m building a small product in my spare time…”.

Don’t feel like you have to think of your product as being something built to make money (there certainly are plenty of businesses that don’t) — think of “product” as being the thing that people are hiring (with minimally their investment of time using it) to do a job for them.

Feel free to join me and start calling your side projects “small products” — be proud of what you’re making, share it, and be open to input — it might lead to something “big”!

This post was originally published as “Side Projects or Small Products?” on