Whenever makers get together to chat, one topic invariably comes up: project overrun. What starts out as a simple solution to a simple problem inevitably balloons into something that can absorb your evenings and weekends for months or even years, whether as a result of hidden complexity or feature-creep. It's an issue which has definite parallels in the commercial world, and the solution is the same: sensible project management.
At the Open Source Hardware User Group (OSHUG) OSHCamp talks day on Saturday the 3rd of September, the second day of the week-long Wuthering Bytes 2016 festival schedule, maker Melanie Rhianna Lewis is going to give a talk on precisely that: keeping projects on-track. Using a model train Digital Cab Controller (DCC) project as a real-world example, Mel plans to talk the crowd through all the stages of running a successful project: research, design, hardware and software development, debugging, and fault-finding.
With an increasing number of makers finding that there's demand for their creations, it's never been more important to develop good habits. For those with no desire to enter production, Mel's tips could help reduce the frustrations that you'll undoubtedly experience along the way; for those looking to turn a hobby into a product, they'll doubtless reduce the frustrations that your customers would have otherwise experienced - as anyone on either side of the crowdfunding explosion will know too well.
Mel's talk is just one in a long list of fascinating topics up for discussion in the official OSHCamp schedule, and tickets are still available for both the Saturday talks and Sunday workshops. The official Wuthering Bytes website also has details for the other days, including the opening Festival Day which takes place this Friday.