Just start it…

Sometimes the best thing to do with a project task is to start it…

Sounds a daft thing to say, but there’s sometimes a danger of over-planning and over-analysing a task, instead of actually getting on and doing it.

I can think of two personal examples. A few years ago I was managing a complex set of interfaces between two systems. One of our suppliers was reluctant to sit down and talk about it because they wanted more preparation. However, we gained more from a rough and ready two hour meeting with everyone round the table than we would have done from a couple of weeks planning. The supplier was generous enough to agree this as well.

My other example concerns a web tool which had been discussed for a long time at high level, to the extent that everyone thought it was a difficult task. Again in a couple of hours, by talking about some detail and the sort of data we wanted to display, we were able to take a big step towards understanding what we were trying to do, and realise it wasn’t quite as hard as we thought.

Sometimes you just need to start talking about something – it’s pretty certain that talking discussing some detail will focus thoughts and help get a clearer idea of what it is you’re trying to do.

Here’s a great quote on the subject:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Aside: This quote is generally, but incorrectly attributed to Goethe, but in fact was introduced as part of a “very free translation” from Faust by John Anster in 1835. Now you know…


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