looking for solid guides to conceptualize and execute large projects
March 27, 2013 5:59 PM   Subscribe

Not in school, but helping make a LARGE web resource. It IS going to be a fairly complicated nonlinear product, but the problem is that there are so many possibilities, so much to work with, so many avenues, that I'm feeling like I need a better way to organize the project. I'm not looking for a tech tool, like trello or google docs, but rather an essay or guide to creating something new and awesome out of thin air. Is there anything like this?

There's no budget and no resources to hire someone to come in and do this.
posted by chelseagirl to Education (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
There is ... so much like that. :D Maybe glancing at the TOCs for these, you could say how far off-target they are?
posted by Monsieur Caution at 6:37 PM on March 27, 2013

Obligatory: The Mythical Man Month
posted by rhizome at 6:45 PM on March 27, 2013

I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for exactly, but these kind of projects always work best for me when I can visualize them. So storyboard it, or build a flowchart on a whiteboard. Then decide how you want to implement it: work on one function at a time, or get a bare bones model working, and then add refinements later.
posted by gjc at 8:20 PM on March 27, 2013

Universal Methods of Design is a compedium of 100 different ways to research, plan, organize and study large projects or systems. You might well find a lot of useful ideas in there.
posted by oulipian at 8:47 PM on March 27, 2013

Mind map. Make a mind map.
posted by oceanjesse at 10:03 PM on March 27, 2013

I find it is useful to worry less about "if," and more about "why," and "when," because there are always "so many possibilities, so much to work with, so many avenues."

In answering "when" try to confine your answers to: "never," "now," "next," "before X," "after Y,
" and "later."

Working through these will generate more ideas that you'll also need to work through. It will also help you to rough-out the sequence of the project. It should also help focus your attention on the things that have to happen sooner, rather than later (or never).

Keep in mind, you know less about the project now than you will at any point in the future, which means that, on average, the decisions you make now will be worse than decisions you make at any point in the future. This has a few important implications, first, you shouldn't plan too far into the future. Second, you should expect to discover that some of your actions, and your plans, were wrong, and you will have to make adjustments, so at every step, do the simplest thing that could possibly work.
posted by Good Brain at 10:40 PM on March 27, 2013

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