Ending projects

It is okay to let things end. You don’t need my permission, but I give it to you anyway.

I have let projects go in the recent and far past. It’s hard.

Tips for making it just a bit easier:

  • Sit on it for a while. Don’t make hasty decisions.
  • Give it a good shot. You, of course, get to define what that is, but you don’t want to bounce from project to project. 6 months of effort is my rule of thumb.
  • Listen to your gut. It knows what you really want.
  • Make a list of the good and the bad about this project.
  • If you can, offer to hand it off. How this works depends on the project type (an OSS project is different
  • Allow for a transition period where the project isn’t supported but isn’t quite gone.
  • Realize that changes happen and who you were when you started the project is different than who you are now. That’s okay.
  • Giving up something allows you to pursue new goals. This is a good thing.
  • Say goodbye, either privately or publicly, whatever feels right.

It’s never easy to say goodbye, especially if you have poured your efforts into something for years. I recently let a project I started in 2008 fade away. It wasn’t serving me any more and I had no enthusiasm for it. My life had moved on, and it took me a few years to acknowledge the truth–I didn’t want to maintain the project and couldn’t find anyone who did. While it was very useful for some folks for some time, it was no longer useful or fun for me.

It’s never easy to say goodbye, but it can be the right thing to do.



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