Categorizing Projects

Friday Night Drawbot

I got invited to take part in a gallery show and display some of the art created by my art robots, and I must say, the whole experience reminded me a little bit of my time in the arts program at UWM. Late nights with X-ACTO knives, cork-backed metal rulers, foam core, spray glue, looming deadlines, things not working out as well as you’d like them to… repeatedly. Besides all that though, it was a lot of fun.

I tend to get distracted by other projects after I reach the stages of “it works!” and “I showed it to people!” and I’m not alone… many members of Milwaukee Makerspace suffer from this as well. We’re starting a support group. Actually, we started 5 support groups, but we keep getting distracted by other projects. (I kid, I kid!)

The thing I really like about projects that involve hardware and software is that you can work on one side for a bit, and then switch gears and work on the other side. Many of the makers I know write code all day (which they like doing) and do hardware stuff at night (which they also like doing) so combining them is a double-win.


I started thinking about some of my projects, and I think they fit into a few categories:

  1. Idea Only: These are projects where I come up with an idea but never follow through on them.
  2. Completed/Forgotten: Projects that get “done” and then I just move on from them without ever improving or creating new versions.
  3. Always in Progress: These are projects that are never finished. They may reach finished “stages” but there’s always a chance they’ll get upgraded, or completely rebuilt, or replaced with a better version.
  4. Failure: Things I try, that just don’t work out. They typically get abandoned.

You might think the Completed/Forgotten or Always in Progress projects are the best, but there’s a lot to be learned by the Idea Only and Failure projects as well. In the end, I love learning new things, so even if I don’t finish a project, learning something new, or even learning how not to do something, can be very valuable.

How do you categorize your projects?