I listened to a good podcast about having and executing on ideas. Here was the gist of it:
- Have an Idea: Gather info directly from customers. Implement now or Punt for later
- Once implemented, get a Minimum Viable Product to a Website, county fair, etc. Fulfillment can be slow at first. Persevere and refine or Punt
- Once it is selling, enter a Customer Validation Loop and handle their concerns first. New ideas? Start at top.
- Once major customer concerns are addressed, enter a Product Design Loop: Change design or manufacturing as needed.
The core of the idea is to fail faster in the hopes that you succeed sooner. Your backlog of unvalidated ideas are there to experiment on and validate. Then you Implement, Persevere, Resolve and Redesign or Punt and wait until you've churned through your good ideas.
Another formulation of this is the 2-2-2-2-2 method. When you are trying to determine if an idea is feasible, first spend 2 minutes getting it down on paper. If it still captures your interest, spend 2 hours fleshing it out. As it grows, time box your commitment to the project. See it through or bin it. By the time you're spending 2 weeks or months on an idea, it should be clear whether it can bear fruit or not. I cannot find an online version of this idea. If you can place it, let me know in the comments.
While this applies to product development, it can also apply to hobbies, chores and other activities. Have an idea for homemade Christmas presents? Try it out on a small batch before you become consumed with a monster of a project with no practical timeline for delivery. Have a request from a friend to help you with a project? Spend a few minutes talking logistics. If you get down to a trip to the hardware store, make sure you can finish that phase with results in an afternoon. Re-evaluate before committing to future efforts: is the benefit still worth your collective time?