There never seems to be enough time to do it right... but there always seems to be enough time to do it over...
Several years ago, I decided to redo the entryway of our house replacing the worn carpet with slate flooring. I had spent some time in college working with a tile-setter and the space wasn’t very large so I decide that this was a perfect weekend project for me.
The area near our front doorway is somewhat oddly shaped with a step-down flight of stairs before entering the living room. The carpet had been laid on a cement slab so there wouldn’t be any need to prep the foundation once the carpet had been removed.
I quickly made some measurements and then went off with my wife to the outlet where stone flooring is sold.
The clerk showed us several samples of varying types of material, tile sizes, and colors, after which time, we finally came to a decision to purchase the one we liked.
The tiles were then loaded in our car along with bags of thin-set cement and a rented masonry saw in order to cut the tiles to fit the odd shape of the room.
Once home, I immediately began the project setting the slate tiles into place using the thin-set cement.
I started at one wall and worked myself to the other end of the room... only when I got to the other wall... there was now a two inch gap between the last tile and the wall.
In addition, I found that the builders of our home were not too accurate when it came to building a square room. Therefore the gap on one end of the wall was two inches while the gap on the other end of the wall was close to three inches.
I thought about several possible ways to remedy the situation... but all of the immediate solutions were not very aesthetically pleasing and would cause the job to look amateurish at best.
This project wasn’t a guest bathroom upstairs where no one would notice... this was the entryway to our home.
After much deliberation and soul-searching, I knew what had to be done.
The stone tiles that I had already set needed to be pulled up and the concrete foundation needed to be scraped and re-prepped.
Needless to say, several tiles were broken during the removal process so another trip to the flooring store was in order.
On my second attempt at this project, I decided that it would be prudent to take some time planning instead of just starting the work.
After taking some detailed measurements of the room (something that I didn’t do the first time around), it became apparent that my original layout idea would not work. Several hours were spent working out a new diamond pattern that ended up looking great when the project was finally completed.
What I had originally hoped would be a quick weekend project ended up taking more than a month to finally complete. It took a complete failure the first time to force me to do some better planning before starting the project and do it right.
This was the classic example of fire, ready, aim...
It seems in today’s world, there is a growing tendency to rush to be the first to market... to ship before the product is ready... and doing something is always better than doing nothing...
While there is indeed some truth in "doing" rather than just "thinking about doing"... planning is still a very important step in any worthwhile project.
Apple didn’t invent the MP3 player or the smartphone. Apple just made those instruments better than anything else available in the market. They took the time to refine every detail of the product before releasing it.
They made sure that the software was stable and that the iTunes interface was running properly.
You can love them or hate them for their business practices... but you certainly can’t say that Apple manufactures poorly made products.
A small amount of time on the front end of any project to properly plan can save countless hours of time, money, and resources in the end by not having to go back and fix errors that could have been eliminated or minimized.
While planning is good... there is still the problem of never actually starting. This is sometimes known as "paralysis by analysis".
There are countless examples of individuals and companies never actually starting an important project because they are so afraid of it failing that they never actually start working on it... instead the project is always on the drawing board being improved.
In addition to actually starting a project... there needs to be a concrete conclusion to any project.
David, a very good friend of mine since college, has been writing the same book now for over ten years.
He completed the first draft only two years after beginning the project... but then he started revising it... adding and subtracting chapters... modifying dialogue... editing the characters...
He asked me to read through his book several years ago, which I did. I offered him several constructive comments but told him that the book was pretty good for a first effort.
I saw David last summer after a about a three-year period. After some small talk, I asked him if he ever published his book... he replied that he was still changing a few things but that he was hoping to submit it to publishers sometime this year...
There are four steps in completing any project:
- Idea - Any worthwhile project starts with a simple "idea". In many ways, developing good ideas are indeed the hardest part of any project.
- Plan - A plan needs to be formulated to both evaluate the worthiness of an idea as well as outlining the actual steps needed to implement the idea.
Many times, it is during the actual planning stage when the original idea scope is changed or abandoned altogether.
- Execution - After the plan is complete and found viable, then the next step is to begin.
There may be some slight adjustments to the plan, if necessary... but this stage is about "doing" not about thinking, talking, or getting ready...
- Conclusion - The project needs to come to a conclusion... the website needs to go live... the book needs to be published... the new product needs to be released...
Each step along the way is important to the overall success of the project. If the steps are out of order or eliminated, then the entire project is put at risk and there is a good chance that it will need to be re-done.
January is always a good time to begin new projects, but it is essential that plenty of thought is put into good ideas and proper planning before setting out.
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we plan to give our customers the best service ever... and are working hard to execute our plan...
Jim Kalb President
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Website - www.optifuse.com
Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com
Twitter - @OptiFuse