Success on a project, in business or in life can’t be achieved until you start. Layering is an approach that increases your chance for success. The concept is simple: break the project into small parts, start small and “launch” frequently. Then add more layers of complexity on it. Here are the steps to getting that big project done:
Identify the problem
Before you achieve success you need to know what you’re trying to accomplish. What problem are you trying to solve? What will success look like?
Break down the project. Identify some quick tasks you can accomplis h(next actions) and get them done. They will not be a full project and will have many holes in it but you will have something to show for your efforts. Congratulations, you’ve already succeeded more than most people who are only thinking about it.
Based on feedback on your initial launch perform tweaks to make it better/more usable/more professional. These changes may look like obvious needs in hind site. The tweaks shouldn’t cover new ground. Rather they are simple ways to make your initial output stable and usable.
Keep building on your initial success. Identify the most important steps to get to the next goal. Are there any small talks now that can get you more success?
Identify more wins. Some parts of the project may be more complex, but keep trying to break it down into small launchable parts.
Real life example:
After taking over a new team of employees Mike was confronted wit hdaily fire drills when tasks weren’t being completed on time.
Identifying the problem
When investigating the issue finger pointing ensued over who was supposed to be doing the specific task. The problem was each type of task had a distinct workflow that not everyone on the team was aware of. Further the handoffs of tasks weren’t sufficiently formalized so even when a task was handed off there was no record of who had it.
Mike realized the ideal solution would be a task management system but initiating it would take months and the resources weren’t available because they were too busy fighting fires. So he broke down the tasks: He identified and communicated work flows. That helped. Then he build a spreadsheets for each type of issue with the workflow steps identified with owners and dates. Another small victory, by now fire drills decreased substantially.
Now that the workflows were formalized Mike and his team discovered ways to tweak some workflows. He adjusted the spreadsheets and communicated it to the team.
Although the work flows became more clear but fire drills weren’t completely eliminated because of some inherent limitations of excel. He initiated some manual processes and checks and balances to ensure that tasks got done on time.
With a relatively stable environment and the requirements crystalized, Mike enlisted one of his team members to begin initiating a task management system. Building a full system would have taken a long time, so they started with just a system to mimik the current excel tracking and initiated a few minor improvements. After this was successfully introduced more features were added. Then more features. Until one day Mike’s initial vision was realized and the firedrills were eliminated.
Big projects are daunting. Just keep it simple and you’ll succeed.