First was an idea…

A while ago, a friend of mine was looking for a new job. He described to me how he was figuring out which qualities were most important to him for that new position. He had a few qualities that mattered listed out. To reveal the one that mattered most, he wasn’t looking at the list as a whole. Instead, he was comparing them two by two. Much less overwhelming than considering the whole list at once. With successive comparisons, he was coming to a sense of which were important than most others.

I felt this idea could be transposed to sorting out which tasks I should focus my attention on. With often quite a few projects on my plate, I sometimes struggle to see clearly what should be my next step. This is how the journey of TaskFight started.

I got in mind to transpose my friend’s method into a web app. It would allow to quickly enter tasks, pitch them one against another and see the resulting rankings.

… then many more…

That was still leaving a lot to interpretation. Take the “enter tasks” bit for example. How would the tasks been added to the app? Would people type them? Paste a list they already had? Pull them from their favourite to-do list? So many ways to do just that first step.

And so was there for the other steps. Can’t decide between the two tasks presented, maybe you’d like to flip a coin? Feeling the ranking at the end is not quite right, perhaps you’d like to reorder it manually?

Thinking further, questions unrelated to the 3 initial steps arose. Would people want to resort the same list later in time, for example? This would be nice to check if you still have the same priorities a couple of months after the first sort.

And little by little, the list of features ideas for the app grew huge.

… and finally few

It’s all good having tons of ideas, but my time to realise them was limited. Even if it wasn’t, wanting to do everything would be a sure way to not get anything out of the door. Always waiting for that last feature to be implemented. And also, not everything in that list of ideas was useful.

To make sure I shipped the app someday, I needed to narrow down what would be in that first version. If only I had a way to decide what to focus on ;)

I went for the minimal set of features that would make the app useful. Advanced additions would come in further versions, if there was demand.

  1. Enter the tasks by simply type the tasks into the app…
  2. Compare them 2 by two by tapping which is most important…
  3. And just see the resulting ranking

This would already be enough to sort priorities.

This wouldn’t just help me get the app out to the world. It also gives me more flexibility as to which features to put in the app. As people use the app, I’ll discover what they really need from it and can plan the next iteration to match these needs. Maybe they are actually more interested in printing the rankings to have a paper to-do list at the end than tweaking the order? And if there’s no, I won’t have wasted loads of time implementing fancy advanced features.

Small iterations, shipped regularly, focused on features discovered from people using the app is a much better plan than a marathon to build a long list of features guessed from thin air.

I had my plan for the first iteration of TaskFight. Time to get coding! Actually… not quite! There were still questions unanswered:

Before the fun begins, more planning!

Thanks for reading

Hope you enjoyed it. The journey is now over and the app will soon be released. You can subscribe to the newsletter to get notified when it'll get opened :)