How to Start a Huge Project in 4 Simple Steps

Doing something perfectly is great, except when it keeps you from starting. First, make a cheap plan, then a fast plan, then a perfect plan, and then merge your plans into something actionable. 
Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #522

2. Make a Fast Plan

Next, make a fast plan. 

If cost were no object and we had to move fast, what would you do?

For the MYST library, you could look through past Burning Man art projects that involved creating house-like structures. You don’t have to look far. This past year, artist Rebekah Waites created a sculpture of a house called Singularity.

You would offer her a gazillion dollars to buy the house. You’d hire your friend the set designer to paint the inside. And you would purchase $15,000 worth of fully-functional MYST linking books from Mike Ando, MYST-fanatic extraordinaire. They come complete with alternate dimensions to travel to.

You’d also hire a construction crew to reassemble the thing at Burning Man. You could probably pull the whole thing together in a few weeks.

3. Make a Perfect Plan

Lastly, make a perfect plan. This is the plan that’s been in the back of your mind the whole time. The plan where everything is done “right,” whatever that means.

In your perfect plan, you assemble a team of experienced volunteers. Together, you custom-build a wooden replica of the MYST Library. The bookshelves, moulding, and table stands are all custom machined. You design puzzles and make your very own interactive linking books. This is a real-life living, breathing replica of the MYST Library. 

It also probably costs about $150,000 and requires a team of 50 people to pull it off.

4. Make a Merged Plan

Now that you have three different plans, you make a merged plan. You have a range of options. You can strategize combinations of the three plans. You can figure out what to investigate, questions to ask, and possible next steps that don’t yet commit to any of the three plans.

You might decide to contact Rebekah Waites to find out if she would be willing to share what it takes to bring a house to the playa. You’ll contact your set designer friend to understand what can be done to create the library out of illusion and thought, rather than real mahogany. And you’ll be able to take the next steps without being overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all.

And by “you,” of course, I mean “me.” But you can use these techniques, too. 

Next time you’re paralyzed by a huge project, stop and step back. Make three high-level plans: the cheap plan, the fast plan, and the perfect plan. Then create a merged plan, a plan for how you can proceed. Sometimes, your new plan will be a new plan to finish your project. Other times, it will be a plan for research you can do to choose your next steps. Either way, you’ll get moving. And if you don’t have a magical linking book to transport you between Ages, getting moving is the next best thing.

I’m Stever Robbins. Follow GetItDoneGuy on Twitter and Facebook. Do you need to do regular billing of clients, but you never quite get around to it? Do you want to establish a habit of prospecting? If so, join a “Get-it-Done Group” and we'll make it happen. Learn more at http://SteverRobbins.com or join my personal mailing list by texting GETITDONE to 33444. Image of people assembling rocketship © Shutterstock.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.