We all have ideas.
Sometime we don’t even realise we do, as we don’t always pay attention to the flow of our mind.
Some ideas come and pass and never come back.
Some stick around.
Sometime we turn these ideas into action.
But even then we seldom finish them.
Parkinson’s law is a project-management rule of thumb stating that :
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
It does have some interesting corollaries, like “If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do” (and jokes aside, it is a really interesting principle which has some curious correlations with the economic law of demand, but that’s off topic for this post.)
The reason it matters – is that we tend to think we have time doing something, until we realise we don’t, and the idea never turn into anything real.
And all good things takes time.
But we don’t have time.
So ideas are started and never finished.
Well… that is not a fatality.
If instead of trying to realise the best version of the idea straight out to the bat, you will be disappointed and will probably have time to finish anyway.
Release Early, Release Often
Agile is a software principle that was introduced in order to fight the evil Waterfall model of project management which would cause the death of so many projects and actually would burn a lot of money.
Company would start a project and then run out of budget and the project would die.
Quite similar to most of us who start an idea, run out of time and we drop it.
To fight this, the idea was quite simple: deliver as fast as possible the smallest possible piece of software. Don’t overdo it and instead keep working, releasing and improving.
This is also known as an iterative development process, where at each release you improve on the back of the previous one.
Release early a small version of your grandiose idea is the first step toward completion.
The good thing: each release is a done version.
Done is better than perfect.
Agile was a niche innovation mainly in the world of software.
Seth Godin has shared a similar concept with a larger audience.
“What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do is ship”
Shipping is what define a successful creative from a failing one.
For a good reason: the more we overthink our creation, the less likely we are to get it out to the world.
(Side note: the resistance is the core reason why ideas die before they get implemented.)
Watch his talk on on how to avoid sabotaging projects just before we finally finish them.