James Musson

March 25, 2021

Objective Free

The marvel of our technological age is that almost anything we can imagine can be created. Basically speaking.

A website starts as a blank white page. Add a few tags of HTML:

<!DOCTYPE html>

<h1>Hello, World</h1>

Now there's a page with content, communication potential at maximum! What's next?

As the saying goes, ideas are cheap but it's the execution that matters. There's time to explore and be creative, of course, but when you're setting sail on the open seas, you want to make sure you're heading towards paradise island rather than a bay of sharks.

At the start of a new venture, I like to ask what I'm hoping to get out at the end. What's the objective? What will things look like if the project has gone well? This helps to narrow the focus of what I'm trying to do, to guard against scope creep.

I find these restrictions help me to be clearer. From a point of maximum communication potential, like a shiny new webpage, the temptation is to communicate at maximum. That's noisy.

Imagine, for example, if this post when on and on and on and on because I hadn't decided on the main point I want to get across. Just Imagine, I know it's difficult ;0

Clarity in communication makes for effective communication. And this will mean cutting out some things that might be worth saying – in a different context. Just so with other projects. Anyone who has worked in a large organisation will have borne the brunt of a project which has run out of control and has tried to include too many new features which, in the end, weren't properly thought through.

Without an answer to the question, "What are we trying to achieve here?", the project will drift aimlessly through the wind and waves, with the limpets of others' pet projects adhering to the hull. And at some point the good ship Listless will run aground on the beach. (Stretching the metaphor too far?)

But with an objective everyone can agree on (even if, with consent, it needs to change later) the course will be set towards paradise island – or wherever you want to be.

Then we avoid running things objective-free. We see the value of operating objective-ly.