How I use Zettelkasten as Indie Dev / Product Manager
I finally figured it out. I’m not an academic, I build apps. So, I wondered how I could apply Zettelkasten to my work.
I’m not just coding, I’m also receiving constructive user feedback. This is usually about bug reports and feature suggestions. However, sometimes I get flooded by emails and messages. There are more good features than time to build and every feature needs some serious thinking and planning. So, in my role I cover here is a mix of developer and product manager.
I was using Jira, a project management software to collect, manage, and plan feature ideas and bug reports. But it quickly grew to over 1000 items. It’s mostly useless now.
Then I started my Zettelkasten and I’m not opening Jira anymore.
Here is how I translate it to my work:
- Input: Reading books and academic articles = Feedback emails
- Capture: Literature notes on books = Feedback notes
- File notes and link: Permanent Zettelkasten notes are the same for me, short, atomic ideas for features, clarifications, questions, interconnected where it makes sense.
- Interim Output: Manuscript for an article or book = Feature specification document
- Final Output: Final Draft for an article or book = Written code implementing a feature
In my process, I first capture feedback emails as notes in an inbox folder. Then the next day or so, I process my inbox and create permanent Zettelkasten notes, interconnected where it makes sense. Once clusters emerge I can take it one step further and write a specification document which I then use to build a new feature or fix a bug.
Without the Zettelkasten I would have to brainstorm and rely on my fragile memory to write that spec or worse, dig up the emails and read them again, out of context. So, naturally, I would spend much more time on this and miss important details.
I wrote a full article on this, above is the gist of it. If you want to read the full piece with screenshots, check this out: https://blog.noteplan.co/zettelkasten-for-devs/
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