I read a good piece over on To-Done about starting projects in the middle. I see that today’s Signal vs. Noise noticed it as well. I’m usually hesitant to make “me too” posts, but I think that this is a good enough insight into project work to be worth parroting.
Britt makes a good point about not necessarily needing to start a new project by addressing the first element of the requirements. I do this all the time with writing. It’s rare that I’ll write anything from start to finish. In general, I write small one- or two-sentence snippets that serve to illustrate some part of the point I want an article to make. If I’m lucky, I’ll get a whole paragraph out. Then I just drag and drop these snippets and paragraphs into the order in which they make the most sense. Voila! Finished article.
Truthfully, I figured everyone worked like this. Let me ask – how many of you actually start your writing project by writing Page 1, or start developing an application by coding Requirement 1.0?
If it works, it works, and that is one of the highest values to which any project can aspire, but starting with the beginning and ending with the end just seems like an un-naturally orderly way of doing things. I always try to run tight projects, but just a dash of chaos seems to do a good job of greasing the wheels.