Four Project Pain Points

Projects have very predictable pain points. Recognizing them and overcoming them is the function of a good plan. Rules apply. Keep it simple. Visual, a sketch, works. Create focus. And then as you reach each of the pain points adopt a simple strategy.

  1. The very start.
    Paralyzed by the fear of taking the wrong step we fail to take the first step.  We open the computer and stare at the blank screen. How do we lay down that first line of code? A plan helps. Whether it is a sketch on a napkin or scratched notes on a card getting a simple plan down helps. An endpoint, a few steps along the way and then take the first step.
     
  2. One month in.
    We have pushed off on the journey. Encouraged by the first flush of movement we move along until we look up and see that we are far from familiar ground. First love has faded and we see hours of mindless configuration and code debugging before us. We have taken the advance money. We are committed. So trudge. Look at that sketch or card and take the next step. Look to the endpoint. Carry on.
     
  3. At the mid-point.
    Who could have foreseen the problems? Like the cartoon of the frog with his hands tightly wrapped around the neck of the heron about to eat him, we are trying to stop what appears to be an inevitable catastrophe. In finance they talk about the cost of opportunities foregone. Buyer's remorse sets in. If I had made this decision and not that one. Second guessing. Doubting. Ensure that you are not falling into the sunk cost fallacy. Then move on. Find that sketch and those notes. Check the endpoint. Is it still valid? Move on.
     
  4. At the end.
    There will always be another pixel to tweak. Another bug to fix.  Like writers who struggle interminably with editing; like parents who can't let their children go; developers struggle to end a project. Remember those notes? Are you there? Perfection is the enemy of done. Celebration is the easy way to overcome this last pain point. Whether it is a promised break or a more public celebration, let yourself bask in the glow of "Done."

So make a simple plan and celebrate when it is completed.