Increase Your Chances Of Success: How To Launch A Project
On productivity, being effective, and doing what matters, this blog is a documentation of what works. Tools, tactics, strategies, systems - if it will get you from Idea to Done, then it's covered. From strategic planning, choice architecture and agile execution my goal is to help tech savvy solo-preneurs and teams to level up their life, business, and organizations. I capture my lessons, struggles, and findings on my mission of transformation from a thinker to a doer.
I’ve had one goal that’s evaded me for years. About 4 to be exact. And that goal is to launch an online presence that would allow me to help people. That’s the general goal. Specifically, I wanted to create a resource to help front-end developers.
In all that time I could not get myself to launch it to the point that I thought it could reach. Instead, I got involved in a lot of other projects year after year, and my primary goal kept getting pushed out.
This year, I decided that I was not going to let this slip again. So I’m relaunching my tech blog: Divtopia.com
As part of this relaunch, I’m going to be sharing all the steps in the process. That way, this posts will document the journey and serve as a case study for others in the future.
Before I go further, here’s the project: The Divtopia Blog Launch (code named: about damn time I finally did this).
So here are my steps and the details to launching this project:
I will explain each step and show specific examples of how it applies the project launch.
1. Get clear on your motivation
I tend to look at planning a new project like outlining a book. A good book always has some type of inciting incident. And usually that incident will tell you the ending.
For me with the Divtopia launch, two things happened to get me going. One at work and the other in my personal life. At work I realized that there are people that do not understand the complexity of what I have to handle but instead they still look at my job as something simple and trivial. This upset me and I know that I’m not alone in this struggle, so I figured that I could do something to encourage, and empower other misunderstood developers to know there what they do is challenging and other people know that. (This is the nice version, of course. Someone said something and I was pissed off. Damn near quit.) Secondly, my friend reminded me that for something like four years, I have been talking about launching this project but I always drop it for something else and I have not done it. So there. Those were two painful things, that happened and I decided that enough was enough. I had my F-this moment, as Amy Hoy would say.
A good motivation is always an F-this moment. And, you don’t have to wait for them to happen. You can create them by allowing yourself to feel the pain and dissatisfaction of your current situation.
So what now?
2. Get clear on what you’re going to do about the problem
After you allow yourself to feel the emotions that are motivating you to want to do something about your problem, then you have that juice. But, you have to turn that juice into something. This is where you decide if you’re going to take action and if the answer is yes, then you define the project.
Now to be clear, deciding if you want to take action is the most important step. You can’t take this lightly. My problem till recently had been that I would never commit fully to taking the action. As a result, even if I decided on what to do, the indecision to see it through to the finish would remain and slowly kill the project when something else comes along.
Defining the project (after deciding that I am committed to doing something about it)
My Process for defining a project is always evolving. As for recent it’s taking the form of naming it, writing down the outcome, and then outlining it in 3-parts (a trick i got form Steven Pressfield).
But this time I’m going to take it further. I have the 3 parts in my head, but I will detail this out following an outline by Pamela Slim from her book Body of Work.
The key questions to answer:
What do you want to make?:
- I want to create a blog that will provide a platform that helps front-end developers to catch up, keep up, and get ahead of the rapid fire changes that are happening in our part of software development. With the initial manifestation being a blog that archives that changes that has happened and a newsletter to let members of the community know in real time the shifts that are going on all around them.
Whom is it for?:
- Divtopia is for front-end developers. Primarily front-end developers that are working and need to stay up on the right information and the changes in the field so that they can better manage their continuing education and their career. It is also for those that are just getting into the field. They don’t have enough experience to decide if they should learn jQuery, React, or Angular, and sometimes they might not know the difference. So it’s thought that are working actively with front-end technology and those that aspire to work in that capacity that need to catch up. If you know and care about the making of the part of a website that your users see in the browser, then Divtopia is for you.
Why does this need to get done?:
- I’ve worked in and taught front-end development professionally for the last decade. In that time the technology has changed and evolved and the pace of change keeps getting faster. In that time the role of the front-end engineer and developer has evolved the most for two key reasons. 1 - anyone can open a browser and inspect the work that you have done, 2 - as the sites get face lifts, the requests and the capabilities change to match up with what is more modern. As a result as a front-end developer you have to keep evolving to stay relevant. Beyond knowing the pain of doing this, as someone that actually enjoys learning and experimenting with new technology, I have also been on forums and seen the lack of understanding and empathy when people need help to catch up with what’s happening. Most information is coming from the view point of the person answering the question. A lot of them don’t take into to account where the person that is asking the question is coming from. (those in the know can just think of how questions get shut down on stack-overflow). So this needs to get done because, as someone that is experimenting and keeping up, I can share quite easily so that people that don’t have the inclination to read tons of feeds daily can just get the bit sized piece of what’s happening in the industry. Secondly this gets to fit right there in the teaching and helping people do more of what they love to do part of my drive. That’s one of my main motivations in life and this would allow me to do that. And third, I can use this as a platform for me to evangelize the importance and challenges of front-end engineering and development. When it is done, Divtopia will serve up a refreshing cup of water for the thirsty as opposed to the fire hose that smacks them in the face when they are forced to attempt to sip from the stream that is the internet.
What structure will it take?:
- I will model this after something like what Jason Zook is doing for entrepreneurs in his buy my future program, or the Skimm for news readers. In short, the site will serve as a place where like minded people can get positive support and good relevant information, and the email digests will serve as a way to provide a sip of water for those that would like to be in the know.
When does it need to be done?:
- The deadline for this was January (I’m not good with setting deadlines.) This is my primary project for the first half of the year from January till June of 2017. I’m committing myself to launching, establishing, and growing a community of Divtopians that feel on top of what is happening in their field. And beyond that having the processing and automation in place so that I can continue to give them consistent value once the site is up and moving.
Here’s my original back of the napkin plans for the project:
My motivation: Negative
- When my efforts get belittled because people don’t understand or value what I do
So what will I do about it?
Help others not feel the same way.
Action tasks to be completed to consider this launched
1 - Identify the views that the site will need
a - Article view combo of [Gramenly] & Dave Cedia b - NEWSLETTER Sign Up make the promise or keeping up c - NEWSLETTER view per [Protocol] NEWSLETTER - Thank you view for NEWSLETTER - Welcome email for NEWSLETTER - Lay of land report gift 2016 d - Landing Page - makes promise: to help them catch up, keep up, and get ahead - Shows 3 paths - List recent/popular posts
2 - Document the thought process and the work for the launch
3 - Detail the goals of the project and how to keep your promise
Goal of project: Help readers 1. Catch up, 2. Keep up, 3. Get ahead
- Visitors Read past to catch up
- They Join NEWSLETTER to keep up
- They take courses and create projects to get ahead of the rest
- Promise of the Site: Catch up, keep up, get ahead
- Promise of the Newsletter: keep up with latest
- Promise of course or products: Get help them get ahead of the curve
- Promise of the Blog: to help you catch up on what you missed
4 - Brainstorm the work ahead and get a picture of how the project will deliver
To catch up
- capture the lay of the land (What is happening/new/has happened)
- Brainstorm list of posts to help folks get a lay of the land
To keep up
- Weekly summary of what’s out there in posts with my take on the feel of the week.
- create automation for this so I don’t fall behind in delivering
- Life on the frontier - small posts on what it’s like to on the edge of changes
To get ahead
- Create Book the New frontier - Create outline for book on how one can get comfortable with the new tools and concepts
- Create Course that helps people to apply the concepts and lessons in the book if they need more help
- Evangelize the plight of the front-end developer in an industry where empathy is sometimes lacking
- Importance of a proper depth of fundamental Front-end knowledge
- Help people realize that Growth is key surviving as a front-end developer
3. Define your next action steps and put the project where you can see it.
This is where the work begins. You have to capture the work to be done, schedule it, and invite external accountability if you need it.
This is where I’m at now. The bulk of the work to be done is listed here. Of course since I can code and I do it day in and day out, this might be easier for me to make sense of. You have to do what works for you.
4. Do the work. And keep doing the work.
This is the magic for me. I did not know how to deal with resistance when it told me that i could not do the work. Now I do. I breathe and I do the work anyway.
I have already designed the blog, coded, and launched the first version. I have also created the email for the newsletter, invited some friends to hold me accountable, and shared the new site on twitter.
5. Share your work.
If you’re a front-end developer or engineer or you know someone that could use what I’m building here, then please share it with them.
Thank you. Divtopia - catch up, keep up, and get ahead with front-end development at http://divtopia.com - thank you.
A bit more action...
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