Act Now!

In the next few days, FortyFour-Three will have a new website. You probably won’t notice. The entire project plan for the move was a series of iterations and tests.

When running a project, you don’t always have to know precisely what the path to results will look like. It’s ok if your current successful step is the lamp that illuminates the next step. 

If you are building a nuclear reactor or an airplane, you definitely should have each step mapped out, and the pieces to the puzzle clearly defined. A project where you do up-front planning for everything that will happen is called predictive project management. When you use a predictive approach, you expect that you have engineered all of the answers in advance, and not you simply need to execute the plan that you have created. 

If you are building a business or launching a website, you probably will take more of an iterative approach. An iterative approach (often called an agile approach) means that you do a piece of work, and then stop to think about the next most important piece of work that will get you to your goal. When taking an agile approach, you still need to have a goal for your project; you just won’t have engineered every step before you start. 

An Example

Back to this website. The goal of the website conversion project is to make the site faster when people visited it. The iterations looked as follows:

  1. Design a faster template. ($20 from Fiverr)
  2. Get faster, more reliable web-hosting. 
  3. Decide that my hosting company should also host my domain name. Transfer the domain name. (For the sake of speed and simplicity.) 
  4. Transfer the new WordPress site to the current host. 
  5. Find out that the new host was giving the speed of performance I needed – set aside the need for a new template (for now.) 
  6. Make a few updates to graphics within the site. 
  7. Run a parallel post for a couple of days. 
  8. Transfer the site to the new site. 

I didn’t know when I started that the new web-hosting would be fast enough to satisfy what I wanted. It also turns out that it may be the company hosting my domain name that was part of the bottleneck. I could have engineered the solution, but I wouldn’t have known what to look for without the small experiments. At the end of the day, for $20 and the cost of web-hosting, I have a faster site and a template in my back pocket for when I want to update the site design later. 

The key to successful iterative projects is to act now, be curious about how things could be, and make small tests that won’t bankrupt you or sink your ship. 

What’s your next step?