One of the most influential mentors in my career as an engineer often cites the following phrase, "The solution to a problem often lies in a proper definition of that problem." From personal experience, I have found that when I start a project with vague goals or poorly supported expectations, I often get very little return on the time that I invest in that particular project. Since I don't know what I am trying to accomplish, "success" is elusive, leaving me with the feeling of grabbing at smoke. How many of you can relate this? Conversely, when I start with a clear objective, which is based on reasonable expectations, project planning and execution is typically very simple. The bottom line is, we always need to be asking ourselves:
- "What am I trying to accomplish?"
- "Why do I believe that I can achieve this goal?"
- "What threatens my objective?"
- "How am I managing these threats?"
Asking these types of questions will not only help you focus, but it will also provide you with the ability to clearly communicate with others who may be in a position to help you when you face problems that are preventing progress.
Define your objectives, make sure that your goals are reasonable, based on the approach you are taking and go make something good happen. Good luck on your projects!