Someone asked once asked me what method I used to plan a project. My answer was less than stellar and left a lot to be desired. Having learned from my mistake I found an awesome book called Do the Work by Steven Pressfield. Now I have solid project development plan that begins with the end in mind. In short I answer the question “What is this all about?” Then I proceed be defining three steps, beginning, middle and end. According to Pressfield you add seven to eight phases and fill in the blanks. An entire project on one sheet of paper. Please keep in mind I didn’t develop this strategy, just adopted it. I strongly urge you to check out the book. Mine is on my Kindle so I have it for reference.

Since I tend to learn from nontraditional sources here are a few observations I’ve made over the last several years.

The best film to learn to see a dream move from planning to execution is Man on Wire. The story of tightrope walker Philippe Petit’s 1974 walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Next time you want to teach your team something about project management pop some corn and rent this movie. Bet yet buy it and loan it to everyone you know.

Kids make the best testers and they will be brutally honest with their critique. Run your product by a kid and see if it holds up. If you can’t explain what the product or service is or does. You might have a problem.

If you want an incredibly productive brainstorming session get kindergartener or first grader to lead it. All you need is some paint, markers and play dough. If that doesn’t get creative juices flowing I don’t know what to tell you.

My grandfather delivered ice by horse drawn wagon. One day he arrived at work to find a truck had replaced the horse and wagon. “Do you know how to drive one of these?” he was asked. Without hesitation I’m told said “Yes.” climbed into the truck and learned how to drive. That might be the most important lesson. You can plan for weeks, but you can’t deliver until you climb in the truck and start driving.

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