Thinking, Talking, Documenting, Doing

Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.
Charles Stanley.

When implementing an OSS, or most projects for that matter, it seems that there are four types of activities:

  1. Thinking
  2. Talking
  3. Documenting
  4. Doing

It seems that every OSS project I’ve worked on that has stagnated has done so because there was so much of the first three points that there was no time left over for the last point. Or the project got so bogged down in the first three that it never even got to the last point.

Now I’m sure I’ll get howled down by some for this, but the first three are just forms of procrastination because they’re stopping you from reaching the DOING stage.

Sure, all four are required but your aim should be to strip everything else away until the ratio of DOING is as high as possible.

This is particularly true when you’re implementing an off-the-shelf product. Most of the analysis has already been done and build into the product for you. Rather than pontificating about endless “what if?” scenarios, build a prototype in a DEV/TEST/LAB environment, let people use it, see whether the “what if?” scenarios really exist, get feedback, troubleshoot, refine the next prototype. Then build the production model.

Consider this – you and your organisation will be judged almost entirely on one item out of the list of four, the DOING. We sometimes do an extraordinary job of avoiding the DOING through overwhelming amounts of meeting, discussing, theorising, designing, planning, documenting, etc.

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