Building Momentum

Published on — Around 2 minutes to read

Have you ever felt like your projects were going a little bit too slow, like they were just dragging on you couldn’t really build momentum? I have two quick tips that I want to share with you that hopefully will make your projects feel faster and lighter.

Fight the Waterfall

On waterfall projects, most people are sitting around, except for one or two who are doing the majority of the work at that moment. Typically, that happens when designers are designing and developers are waiting around for the designers to finish.

One of the ways to correct that is to start all of the pieces of work a little bit earlier. The key to starting work early is not succumbing to the pressure of having to finish the work. Don’t worry about finishing. If you’re a developer, you can start doing things while your design or information architect are working because a lot of your work actually isn’t dependent on their work. Some of it is, so you probably won’t be able to finish, but that shouldn’t stop you from starting.

When you start things earlier than you expected to without pressure, it starts to feel like you’re building momentum.

Share Work-in-Progress Early and Often

Typically, when you share work with your colleagues or a client or a stakeholder, you might expect them to have feedback. So, sharing work-in-progress feels premature because how can others be expected to give feedback if the full context of the work doesn’t yet exist?

Here’s the key: when you share work-in-progress, share it with the caveat that no feedback is needed at this point. You’re simply sharing it to let people know where you are. For example, if you have to make 12 wireframes, share it when you finish 2 or 3. Rather than spending a whole week to drop 12 wireframes, share 2 – 3 wireframes every 2 days. The more often you do this, you start to build rhythm, and rhythm builds momentum. It’s hard to feel the rhythm when there’s too much space between the beats.

The true hack here is that you’re avoiding one of the biggest things that drag projects to a halt: waiting for approval. If you’re posting work-in-progress often without feedback needed, you’re starting to create a work cadence that’s moving by default, rather than standing still by default. You’re short-circuiting the stop-and-go whiplash that comes with waiting for approvals. You’re creating a project culture where the default is progress and momentum that anyone can stop when necessary, instead of one that constantly needs to be jumpstarted again.

Sir Isaac Newton said it best in his laws of motion: “an object at rest will stay and rest and an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by an external force.” It’s science!