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Project planning - 'wild success' vs. overwhelming?

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  • Project planning - 'wild success' vs. overwhelming?

    I've been trying to envision wildly-successful outcomes for my projects lately and while this is a powerful way to generate better ideas, it also usually leads to more work. The envisioned outcome may be more exciting and motivating, but the scope of the project has expanded too.

    This is making me feel reluctant to envision wild success, because it increases my workload.

    How do I take advantage of the 'wild success' idea without overwhelming myself? Am I applying this too broadly? Shouldn't some projects be envisioned and executed at the just-good-enough level? I'd appreciate your insights.

  • #2
    Make sure it's at least 51% believable.

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome to the forums, KLW!

      With questions like this, I often find it easiest to work from an example. Preferably a real example from your own life, but if you don't have one that you'd like to share, a hypothetical example can work too.

      I'm just going to take a wild guess here -- I think you mean this sort of situation:

      "Desired Outcome: Clean house.

      Wild Success: Immaculate, sparkling home. You could eat off any surface anywhere. Everything is always in its place.

      Panicked Reaction: OH MY GOD it's going to kill me to spend every waking moment cleaning my house."

      Is that the sort of thing you're driving at?


      Cheers,
      Roger

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by KLW View Post
        Shouldn't some projects be envisioned and executed at the just-good-enough level? I'd appreciate your insights.
        What if you think that wildly successful is the project being completed and working or finished properly with an appropriate amount of effort?

        IOW Wildly successful isn't extravagant, it's appropriate for the need.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
          IOW Wildly successful isn't extravagant, it's appropriate for the need.
          thats a nice point. i guess it doesnt (have to) mean more bells and whistles. Completing something with the minimum fuss, in the last amount of time, could be wild success. Completing something so effortlessly you barely noticed it happening could be wild success.

          I would also add more generally that success has to be balanced against success in other areas. you may feel good spending hours on a piece of work - but when you stand back and look at all your projects together, or have a 20/30ft view, you may feel that you weren't so successful after all.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for the welcome and all the suggestions.

            Okay, a real-life example: I've been expanding our household inventory list to include not just items listed for insurance purposes, but a great many other items, so I can answer the questions, Do we have any of those special light bulbs for the dining-room chandelier? And if so, Where are they? Very useful.

            Thinking of wild success, it occurs to me that it would be great to have a photo of many items in this database, and UPC reader. So we could tell at a glance if that's the correct special light bulb, or fan belt, etc., when there are similar items, and also enter new items instantly. But this would obviously necessitate a huge amount of additional work, so I'm not going to do it.

            I'm not really having trouble deciding whether to do the additional work. I'm having trouble seeing the value in the wild-success perspective. It seems, on this project and others, to just expand the scope of the project, which I then have to trim back to its original size anyway.

            I appreciate the idea that 'success' can be a smoothly executed project, or on-time-under-budget and so on, but I don't see those as particularly wildly successful outcomes; just normal successes.

            What would be an example of wild-success thinking that makes for a much better outcome without expanding the workload?

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the example -- it'll make the rest of this a lot easier.

              There's a number of things that Wild Success gets us -- some tangible, some intangible. My list here will probably be a bit disorganized, but I'll try to hit all the high points.

              First off, in my own experience, I find it helps me get into the right mindset for Brainstorming (which is a pet topic of mine around here.) Brainstorming is about getting lots of ideas -- and that means getting lots of bad ideas, too. So starting right off the bat with a creative license to be crazy is something that I find helpful.

              It also helps shape my evaluation of the ideas, after generation. Why is it crazy or problematic to have pictures of everything I own? Because it would take me a long time to build up that database. Okay. What if I didn't worry about the backlog and just started today, with every new thing I bring into the house? Hmm. That might be feasible. What if I reversed the sequence? What if, before I bought anything, or brought anything into the house, I had a picture and a product number and a UPC for it? How would that change my life? That's a line of thought I might find fruitful, and it's something I might not have wandered into without a crazy Wild Success.

              But, as you say, at the end of the day, I might still end up with the same old solution I started with. I find the difference in attitude really remarkable, though.

              Before, I might think: Dang. I wish I could have pictures and data on all my stuff. But it's just not possible. So I guess I'll settle with this partial solution that meets some of my needs.

              After Wild Success, I think: I've evaluated my options, and I've chosen the best solution based on all the constraints. I could have chosen to take pictures of everything I own, but I've chosen not to. If some of those constraints change in the future, maybe I'll revisit it. But for now, I've made my choice, and it's the best choice I can make, and I'm happy with it.

              I've found it really helpful in getting away from what's essentially a Victim sort of mindset around these sorts of things. That poisonous line of thought around "Oh, I wish things could be different..." is exposed for the fraud it is, because I know that things could, in fact, be different, and it is well within my power for them to be different, and things are the way they are because of the choices I've made about them.

              But that's a fairly personal response. You might be feeling entirely empowered about such things already, in which case it might not help you out as much. But if you think there might be something to it for you, I'd encourage you to give it a try.


              Cheers,
              Roger

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, for me, 'wild success' has proven helpful - eg I was giggling at the thought of a particular professor at the Uni being enthusiastic about my work - and then he really was!

                I also like to imagine, 'I'll be relaxed and relieved when this is all over' and usually I always am!
                (This went for exams and other projects..) So.. maybe might want to think about it this way?
                eg 'We're happy and comfortable with our home routine and maintenance'?

                PS Yeah, online websites/review sites exist where you can read about a product before you buy it! Company product sites with specifics (and often pics) and sites like Amazon and review sites that often have pics too, or pics can be uploaded..

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Layla View Post
                  I also like to imagine, 'I'll be relaxed and relieved when this is all over' and usually I always am!
                  Thank you for this bit of wisdom, Layla. I often struggle with the opposite negative mindset: 'I'm stressed about having to deal with this.'... looks like it just needed to be rephrased as something positive!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Alternative phrase?

                    I've been thinking about this "wild success" question. Like the OP, I think this phrase sort of scares me off in some cases because it has specific connotaions for me (even though I realize it doesn't need to, it just does). On the other hand, I like the idea of the exercise because it helps you envision the desired outcome which is crucial. I'm going to try using another phrase for myself - not sure what the best one would be but am going to experiment with something like "intense satisfaction" which is a better fit with the kind of vibe I'm going for in my life.

                    - Sally

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I LOVE wild success.

                      I have 30,000 digital photos plus many years of film and slide photos. Wild success for me was having a digital copy of all my photos, edited and named with the following formula Year-Month-Day-Event Name-Number.file type
                      for example: 2012-06-26-Mum & Levi's flight-07.jpg

                      I thought that it would be impossible, but 2.5 years in I am nearly complete. I still have a few bits and bobs to do but overall I am so very happy. Did it create extra work-hell yeah. Is it worth it? YES! Just because it is going to create a lot of extra work, don't write it off. But only take on those projects that are worth it to you and your family!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Roger View Post
                        "Desired Outcome: Clean house.
                        Wild Success: Immaculate, sparkling home. You could eat off any surface anywhere. Everything is always in its place.
                        Interesting, but my version would be a bit different.
                        Desired outcome - clean, presentable beautiful house.
                        Wild success - Effortless to keep clean, as everyone picks up after themselves and any small messes are quickly cleaned up by people as soon as they are made or by the end of the day. Weekly cleans are a group activity in which everyone joins in and completes it quickly and efficiently and jokes around and has fun together. Sense of pride in the house as we all worked together to keep it that way. Beautiful home made artwork on the walls, decorations reflect each individual personality in the home, and each of us enjoys being here and loves to show it off to our friends and family.

                        For me wild success doesn't mean a huge amount of work for myself, quite the contrary.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Congratulations!

                          Originally posted by Duckienz View Post
                          I have 30,000 digital photos plus many years of film and slide photos. Wild success for me was having a digital copy of all my photos, edited and named with the following formula Year-Month-Day-Event Name-Number.file type
                          for example: 2012-06-26-Mum & Levi's flight-07.jpg

                          I thought that it would be impossible, but 2.5 years in I am nearly complete. I still have a few bits and bobs to do but overall I am so very happy. Did it create extra work-hell yeah. Is it worth it? YES! Just because it is going to create a lot of extra work, don't write it off. But only take on those projects that are worth it to you and your family!
                          Congratulations! It is a proof that I should move a similar project from my Someday/Maybe list to Projects

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Duckienz View Post
                            I have 30,000 digital photos plus many years of film and slide photos. ...... I thought that it would be impossible, but 2.5 years in I am nearly complete.
                            That is very inspiring! What did you do to break down that project into actions you could actually complete? DId you use some sort of specific cataloging SW or are they all just in folders? Did you ad or edit any metadata for them? All the questions are because I have a similar project for my, and my parents photos sitting in someday maybe that I have not moved on because it seems so overwhelming.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think the importance of asking "wild successful outcomes" (btw, forget about what that may mean for a second) when defining projects comes when you review your project list and have to use your intuition to figure out which one to work on. Yes, context, and time available come first, but when you get past those you still might be left with a long list of things to pick from. That's where the value of "wild successful outcomes" comes in for me.

                              For me, the point of that question is simply to insert an emotional component to how you define your projects. It's NOT about adding a whole bunch of unrealistic things to the scenario. Sure, for some long term things it pays to think big but for shorter term things you want your project to spark that inner thing that made you want to do this in the first place. Examples:
                              1. Make dinner on Sunday. (Clear and to the point, but not very emotional)
                              2. Have a romantic dinner on Sunday with my wife. (a little more engaging)
                              3. Show my wife how much I appreciate her by preparing a romantic dinner for her. (this is fully reaching across the left-brain/right-brain divide, it has meaning, it is my definition of a wild successful outcome).

                              The point here is to capture a little bit of how that wild and successful outcome will LOOK and FEEL. This is where the yin and the yang meet. This is where Projects tie into your horizons of focus. Next actions are very (and should be) mechanical. You don't want to think when looking at your next actions. You just do them.
                              Project however is where we start to get a little of the soul back. That little emotional word or two in them will go a long way in steering your intuition when it comes time to deciding which one to do.

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