We all have great ideas we’d love to implement. Whether it is features/projects at work or that brave new startup idea that can change the world, these ideas are what push us forward. With all that said, there is one thing more important than just having the idea. That’s having a process that works and gets the most out of that idea in the immediate and sets it up for future success!
For me, I like to keep my process simple and catchy. I like to keep it simple in the sense of getting the most from the most straightforward approach. For the catchy part, well, everything is better the easier it is to remember. That’s why I named my process the 3 Ws. On the surface it’s appealing, and underneath, it holds all the power in a tool you would need to turn that idea into a real plan/roadmap.
At the beginning of anything you do it’s important to sit down and drill into your idea’s core. That’s because just because you have an idea of something, doesn’t mean it translates into something fully tangible. Take a moment to think back to ancient times, and imagine the first person that saw a bird fly and thought it would be great to do that. They had the idea, but clearly, because of the times, they had no clue how to articulate exactly what was needed to achieve it.
Defining your idea’s what is more than just the initial idea. It involves transitioning that idea into actionable items and clearly stating your goal. Let’s get back into our wanting to fly example. The goal would be to create a device/vehicle that can enable a person in the sky. Simple, clear, and to the point. The actionable items would be: determine a mechanism to lift and maintain elevation, determine a solution to alleviate the harshness of weather at that altitude, making the experience comfortable, etc.
Having a clearly defined definition of your idea is only the starting point. After that, it opens up the door for your next step in the process. Why are you even doing it?
Having support for your idea’s justification gives it viability and a well-aligned need. This is how you get buy-in from those you work with and/or investors. Think about it, would you want to work on something someone came to you with if they can’t easily communicate how great it and viable it is.
Ok, so we’re making great headway here! We now know the what and the why in our decision process. There is only one thing to do once you’ve been able to set those two things into stone. That is determining how you see your idea scaling into the future, or your where.
Understanding how far an idea can possibly go gives you more direction into how to build something. Think about it, in anything you do it will maintain two out of these three characteristics: fast, good, and cheap. If something is just needed to get into the market, and no maintenance, then fast and cheap works. However, if it’s something you want more of a lasting future for, then you’ll want to avoid that.
Again, doesn’t have to be concrete, but it is important to have thought out because this will define your building phase and iterations after.
I tried to keep this short and sweet because it’s the best way to really elaborate the context of my process. Having this process, and applying it to the things I do and projects I start, saves me a lot of time and always puts everything into proper context. So hopefully, it’ll do the same for you!