Forget for a moment that we live in the age of Google Maps. Remember what it was like when you had to create your own directions?
How did you do that when you went somewhere you had never been before?
Perhaps you found your current spot on the map, took a finger and followed every road that left your destination, until you found one that led to where you were going.
Not very likely! That’s a waste of time.
What you actually did was much smarter: if you still had no idea how to get there, you looked at your destination first:
- What roads came into that city?
- Where did those roads connect to the highway?
- Now how can you get to that highway from where you are?
In other words: You started at the end.
Because you were going somewhere specific.
If you started at the beginning, you had to try every direction until you found one that worked. In other words, you had infinite choices. There is no way to effectively plan for infinite options. You have to limit it!
This is why so many innovative and creative trajectories fail, especially in side or personal projects. And all the way with all the business improvement opportunities and software. No one can deal with infinite choices.
What matters is the result : better flow, higher productivity, better profits, etc. Not about what tools, methods and apps are out there and what you can do with them.
Therefore, a core principle is always to work backwards. You must have a clear picture of the final product, otherwise how will you chart your course?
- How do you know when you achieve success?
- How do you know what to add?
- How do you know when to stop?
- How will you recognize “finished”?
(credits for this email to Amy Hoy)