Planning — A Tip From Hollywood to the Development World

I’m reading Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. One of the reviews I read before starting the book simply said, “When Ed tells a story, you listen.” I’m finding a lot of truth in that sentiment.

The chapter I read today more eloquently put what I’ve tried to express in the past when it comes to managing web development projects. Unlike air travel — the consequence of failure is extremely low and the proposition of failure makes the work better.

Moreover, you cannot plan your way out of problems. While planning is very important, and we do a lot of it, there is only so much you can control in a creative environment. In general, I have found that people who pour their energy into thinking about an approach and insisting that it is too early to act are wrong just as often as people who dive in and work quickly. The overplanners just take longer to be wrong (and, when things inevitably go awry, are more crushed by the feeling that they have failed). There’s a corollary to this, as well: The more time you spend mapping out an approach, the more likely you are to get attached to it. The nonworking idea gets worn into your brain, like a rut in the mud. It can be difficult to get free of it and head in a different direction. Which, more often than not, is exactly what you must do.