This is the second post in the series Ideas From Start to Finish.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned developing web applications is that you have to start working on the idea right away. Channeling that enthusiasm and adrenaline is a great way to kick-start the project. However, while adrenaline is great for short-term results, killer planning will allow you to maintain a steady pace for the duration of developing the project.
But eventually there’s going to come a time when that adrenaline drops off. Usually this happens when the tedious aspects of the dream will eventually dominate your working time. It’s a lot like building the house. The frame goes up very quickly and shows lots of progress. However, it’s the interior finishing that usually takes the longest. The details that don’t show as much progress for the amount of time needed to complete them.
Planning, planning… and more planning
This is when keeping the big picture handy is important. By meticulously planning your venture, you’re going to have a solid framework to work off of, allowing you to remain energized in the fact that you can see what needs to be done before you finish.
When planning the idea, I recommend these four steps:
- Get Rid of Distractions
- Write down every idea
- Track your progress
- Always keep the end goal in mind
This should yield an outline of what needs to be done, and the actionable steps required to take them. Keeping track of what you’ve done will also keep the motivation level high, as you can see your progress. Keeping the end goal in mind will keep you focused so you don’t start tacking too many features on to the original concept.
And don’t worry if your original idea breaks plans and changes directions. Many ideas morph into something different by the time they’re completed. Just re-evaluate your plan and the steps needed to finish. Rinse, and repeat.
Don’t Get Stale
Starting on the idea right away also ensures that your idea won’t get stale. Ideas that sit in the hopper for too long will just sit in the back of your brain and keep you from concentrating all the other important things in your life. At least as long until you map out your plan for implementation. If you don’t quickly “map” out your idea, all of the details will be lost inside of that big bowl of pudding between your ears. Forever.
Also, it’s a good idea to constantly review what has to be done, so that you can trim away ideas that didn’t materialize. Keeping your todo list size down will also keep the mind from freaking out because “there’s too much to do!”. This insanity is probably the biggest cause of great ideas not materializing: The idea is too overwhelming for the amount of energy you actually have.
Capitalizing on the early excitement of the idea and then maintaining a steady, manageable pace will keep your idea from growing stale, and ultimately get the concept to the release stage.