How to Finish Big Projects

Scenario: "Dude, we need to plan everything, then work incrementally by parts until we get there! Then, we'll get super-awesome product on time. Yay!" You know how it works:

  1. Plan every-and-all project details.
  2. Work on each part one-by-one.
  3. At the end, combine everything.

You'd think you'll make it by the deadline; but weeks/months -- no years! -- pass, and you're wonder what the !@^^ just happened.

The problem with completing big projects using conventional methods?

  1. It's inflexible.

    If you need to change something, it affects everything else. Planning stages? That's right: seemingly, it's time to plan everything all-over.
  2. It's long.

    You won't get a working product until you're done; by then, market conditions change -- meaning you'll have to adapt from your plans. Oh no!
  3. It becomes de-motivating.

    Remember building that last big project? "I had passion when I started, but that quickly faded..." you're probably telling yourself. By the latter stages, you're tired, groggy, and working like a snail on weed.
  4. It gets you a blah-product.

    Complacency produces mediocrity. Instead of filling the every nook-and-cranny of the project with juicy-good fillet mignon, you start filling it with burnt-soggy-steak. Need real-world examples? Demo 95% of business software.

To rock a big project, do sumthin' else.

The Solution: Adopt Agile Development

All-world software developers use a method they crazily call: Agile Software Development. (We call it by its street name: ASD.) That is:

  1. They build a releasable product within weeks.
  2. Then, they build outward to create successively bigger product releases.

The first releasable product has the most important stuff done. They'll term it Version 0.1 (or, something similarly nerdy). Next, they'll expand that version outward with additional features -- where those krazy-kids will term it Version 0.2 -- releasing that version within weeks as well. Gradually, the successive small releases ultimately form one frickin'-juicy-good completed software item. Completo.

Why Does ASD Rock?

You start focusing on the most important sucka in the project -- get that out of the way, then fill in the other parts. That way, you allow yourself (or your team/business/yadda) to use the magic right away -- instead of waiting for a completed product with lesser important parts. Remember, in whatever humongous product you're building, keep this in mind:

  • 20% of the project serves 80% importance.

Likewise, regarding that above 'twenty-percent':

  • 20% within the twenty-percent serves 80% importance within the twenty-percent.

In other words, completing 4% of the project (i.e. 20% * 20%) serves as the absolutely-freakishly crucial role in the project's success, which you can complete within weeks (or days/hours).

  1. So, instead of aiming to complete 100% of your big-frickin' project, complete the crucial 4%.
  2. Then, build outward with successive releases.

Example: You + Your Web Design Business

Let's say you've decided to build the most influential web design business in the world.

So what does your butt do?

You start building business with its most crucial parts -- where you set a two-week launch date. After those two weeks: "I gotta start selling my web design services, or else!" you scream at the mirror. So, you get the essential parts done to sell web design in 2 weeks:

  • You produce a 1-page website detailing your awesome stuff.
  • You provide screenshots of your 5 previous homepage designs.
  • You get a phone number for people to order your shizzle.
  • You solicit testimonials to wow prospects on your marketing collateral.
  • You create an order form on that 1-page site to order online.
  • You get a business license, and a DBA.

Ta-da! You start selling your web design services by your deadline. Now, seeing how magical you were, you now tell yourself:

"It's time to service the B2B sector!"

So, how do you expand your web design business?

  • You give yourself two weeks to target the B2B sector.
  • You contract with one full-time experienced B2B salesperson.
  • You expand on the 1-page website with an additional link to your new service.
  • To not confuse your initial service, you term the new B2B service: B2Bdezigns2.0.
  • You describe the bottom-line advantages of having a pretty web design.
  • You emphasize how you optimize your designs to generate the most leads.
  • For marketing collateral, you solicit testimonials from your previous B2B customers.
  • You provide screenshots of your previous B2B designs, and show the % increase in leads.

You start selling the sucka within 2 weeks to those biznizzy-folks. Not only do you (1) now have a kick-ass web design service, but you've also (2) complemented the service with your B2Bdezigns2.0 to the business crowd. Next thing you know: Your business starts to rocket as you continually build outward -- and slowly-but-surely, it becomes one freakish behemoth with tons of profitable offerings, servicing 52 countries around the world, getting you on the cover of Forbes and Fortune, snatching you a million-dollar movie deal with Brad Pitt starring your life -- and, finally, the ultimate of it all: You get on Oprah.

To finish big stuff: Complete the releasable tiny stuff -- then build the mutha-!@^^%^ outward.


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Posted on May 11

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