parkinson's law

work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion

I stumbled onto the Wikipedia page for Parkinson's law today, and was intrigued. I had never heard this name used for describing this specific phenomenon. This aligns with the idea of scope creep which often comes up in software engineering. We often view extra resources as an opportunity to do more, which can be extremely detrimental to the goal of the project.

This concept was referenced regarding this great post about building a profitable MVP in a weekend. This MVP was successful due to the owner being well connected and experienced in the space, but also due to an aggressively small scope. Instead of focusing on what is possible in a weekend and listing out features, the author instead focused on whittling down the app to the smallest possible size. This narrow focus allowed them to ship in a weekend and start making money.

This is something that I am trying to apply to my projects, both before and during them. I have become much more comfortable with erasing ideas from my project list before starting them. Once started, I actively work to reduce the amount of work remaining. This leads to me focusing on more important tasks while working on and finishing them more consistently.

The space of projects I could do is infinite, but my time is not. Being able to pick out the most valuable and fun projects from that space will give me the highest yield for my effort. Once started, instead of drumming up new features to add, it is almost always a better idea to start something new.