This has come to my attention more than once. When I will be working on a personal project for a while and getting really into it. I come to find someone else has produced a similar product or the same thing I have made. What has gone through my head in the past immediately is a mix of if I need to keep pursuing this project or ditch it. Here is how I assess my projects and whether I need to continue or ditch them.
Do you have an edge?
I take a hard look at what the new competition has. I will buy the product/service and use it like any other user. This way, I can actively think if my product will be released with the same or, from what I see, as a better set of benefits. Interact with the community and see what their problems are with the product/service early on and if you can solve or have solved them in your own product/service. This is one of the most major factors in deciding whether to move forward with the project or not.
How complete is the project?
If the project is far from done or even far from an alpha test, then it will most likely get tossed aside for a rainy day thing to do. Otherwise, if I see my project is halfway or close to done, I will push through and release what I have and then slowly add various features to make it more competitive in the marketplace. On the flip side, you have to look at your competition and see if they have a complete product. If they do not, you can have a leg up and get your completed product to market faster.
How much competition is there?
Recently one of my project ideas was capitalized on by another group faster than I could make it. Although it didn’t stop me because they were the only competition out there, Pretty discourages right away. If you release a product with the same features and nothing different, you still have a chance to compete in the market place actively. What makes this a prime opportunity is gaining a user base and having a separate group to mold your product into. In most cases, you will mold into a product with its own special features and needs based on the user base.
Taking all of this information into account, you can get a clear overview of the project and what you have ahead of you. In almost all cases, I will move forward on a project if I can say yes to these questions, and I still have a passion for the product. Good Luck!