Strategic Piles

Posted Sunday, August 14, 2022 by Sri.Tagged TROPE

Questionable Hypothesis

A possible companion idea to Strategic Horizons, a strategic pile is a collection of related thoughts and to-do items that are related to a project. The project itself may not be well-defined to create a plan, but at minimum it is a placeholder for a desire paired with a result. This pairing of desire+result serves as the seed idea for collecting all the related things one might need to research, acquire, build, or learn to bring the desire to fruition.

Projects, in my mind, connote forming some kind of "logical plan". However, logic doesn't save us from frustration or confusion when trying to do something new for the first time. You can create a good project plan AFTER you've learned how it works; your planning is informed by experience then. When doing something for the first time, might as well just make a big pile of related things and start working out how bits of it work. This does require a minimum level of confidence in one's experimental ability and the luck of having good teachers nearby. I think the PILE is not a bad way of just keeping a "memory box" of a bunch of things you dream about being able to do; by giving the PILE its own identity without the pain of trying to define it as a project, perhaps this is a more useful construct.

Questionable Logic Follows

In a typical project plan, one would do a "problem definition" followed by some kind of analysis of the current state of the art, challenges, risks, and so forth. A set of functional goals and metrics may be established for a first baseline prototype to test the waters, as well as logistics and scheduling of human resources. An asset/resource inventory is established, along with key dates and deliverables for the stakeholders that are involved.

This stuff is fine and all, and generates nice schedules and charts for everyone to get on the same page; it's more of a communication framework + accountability checklist for a diverse build team serving non-team stakeholders. Even a simple project of methodically learning something by rote step-by-step may not need it. The hard part of learning is getting past frustration and feeling dumb, trying to grasp something that has never been grasped by you before and is therefore utterly alien.