DEV Community

Cover image for The Key to Completing Projects: Mastering the Art of Planning πŸ—οΈ
Jimmy McBride
Jimmy McBride

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

The Key to Completing Projects: Mastering the Art of Planning πŸ—οΈ

Your projects are left unfinished not because of your technical abilities, but because you haven't learned how to plan properly. The imposter syndrome might whisper that you lack the skills, but in reality, you simply need a clear and organized approach. It's time to silence that inner critic, develop a structured planning process, and complete any project you undertake!

Step 1: Recognize the Fuzziness of Your Mind's Eye

You might think that you have a clear vision of your project, but our minds often have a fuzzy picture of the details. When you realize that the primary hurdle standing between you and a completed project is not your technical ability but rather an unclear vision, you become empowered to take control and start planning properly.

Step 2: Research Your Project Thoroughly

Part 1: High-Level Overview

Before diving into the project, make sure you know exactly what you're building and how to build it. So let's go over a high level of the things that we need to know:

  • Who is our IDEAL customer?
  • Who is our target audience?
  • What do we know about their current situation?
  • What position do they want to be in?
  • What's stopping them from getting into their ideal state?
  • What's the solution to get over what's blocking them from getting into their ideal position?

Here's an example:

  • My brother-in-law is having trouble scheduling and keeping track of appointments for his small business.
  • People with growing businesses who are suffering from the same issue.
  • He's recently grown and is currently struggling to meet clients' needs because of how unorganized his appointments and tasks have been since the spike in work his business has received.
  • He wants to have all his appointments and tasks organized so he doesn't have to be scrambling around all day. He wants to wake up and know exactly what he needs to do and at what time.
  • Lack of organization. Before his business spiked, he could just remember everything, but now it's too much. Writing things down has had inconsistent results.
  • An organization app where clients can make appointments through his website, and he gets a notification. He can also add tasks manually and add them to his schedule. When he wakes up, he'll be able to see a list of all his appointments and tasks he needs to do for the day.

From this example, we can see the CORE of what we're trying to do is help our brother-in-law and people like him to manage a growing business efficiently. We've learned from our brother-in-law that his biggest problem with his growing small business has been organization. Odds are he's not alone!

Part 2: Detailed Research

Since we've identified his biggest pain and the root of what's stopping him from his ideal state (manage a growing amount of customers efficiently), we can start to do more research.

Remember, you must communicate with potential users. Use email, phone calls, text messages, or direct messaging to engage with your target audience. Additionally, read what they're saying about similar products on YouTube, social media, Amazon reviews, Reddit, Quora, and Google. Gather valuable insights and take detailed notes.

I'm not jokingβ€”don't skip this step! This is key to developing a crystal clear vision of exactly what your ideal customer and target market are relying on you for! They are in pain and will reward you handsomely for your help. Do right by them and start with thorough research.

Look up task management books for growing businesses on Amazon, read the 5-star and 1-star reviews. What do people love about these books? What's valuable to them? What's NOT valuable to them? What are the things they specifically don't like? (Don't do those things!)

Find YouTube videos about the subject, read through the comments, what are people saying? Look for long posts where people share lots of informationβ€”tons of gold to be found in these. Quora and other social media like Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter are also great places to go.

Remember, we've identified our IDEAL customer! Why don't we ask him what he uses the most? What did he google when trying to solve this problem himself? What keywords did he use? Ask these kinds of questions and take notes! It's important stuff.

Step 3: Compile Your Findings and Begin Planning

After conducting your research, compile all the information you have gathered to start planning. Write down your MVP list of features, keeping them simple yet efficient. Your priority is to create a version of your project that effectively addresses the user's needs. Remember, you can always add functionalities in future updates.

I don't really need to go into a whole lot of detail here, because if you did your research correctly, it should seem like the MVP writes itself! But if you are coming up short on ideas or need some extra help, add all your notes into ChatGPT and have it assist you with ideas on how to solve this problem best and defining your MVP.


With a clear understanding of your project's goals and an MVP in mind, you are now ready to tackle the actual planning stage. Stay tuned for our next blog, where we'll discuss planning techniques that will bring your vision to life and help you complete your project like a pro!

If you enjoyed this article and found it useful, please don't forget to hit that like button, leave a comment, and follow for more insightful project planning tips and guides.

Also, would a project research Notion template be valuable to you? Let me know in the comments below, and who knows, I might just let you in on my tried and true, secret research template!

Top comments (8)

aviavinav profile image
Avi Avinav

Great writeup. Thanks!

jimmymcbride profile image
Jimmy McBride

Glad you enjoyed it!

vincenttommi profile image
Tommi k Vincent

great write up

stuf83 profile image

Great post thank youπŸ‘

jimmymcbride profile image
Jimmy McBride

I'm glad you found value in it. Thanks for reading! :)

alimansoorcreate profile image
Syed Ali Mansoor

Yeah I would love to see the Notion template! Please do share!

jeffreyon profile image
Jeffrey Onuigbo

Awesome post Jimmy

fridaycandours profile image
Friday candour

Fantastic, thank you man.