Accomplishing a Daunting Task

Our ’09 goal to revamp our e-commerce platform and build what we consider to be the all around best e-commerce platform on the web is obviously not an easy one.  In fact, it’s a really really challenging goal.  Most notably, because of our lack of resources available (money, people, time, etc).  It truly is a daunting task.

When I wrote the post outlining this goal a few weeks back, we hadn’t yet started on developing the project.  We’d meticulously studied the best shopping experiences on the web and defined what we wanted ours to be, but we hadn’t actually begun working on it.  Mike hadn’t started the design, I hadn’t started the programming, and George and Greg hadn’t started all of the work they have to do in terms of photography and product descriptions and how-to guides/videos.

Any time I am about to start a project of this magnitude,  I start to get nervous about the mountain of work that lies ahead.  SO much has to come together for it to work.  Not only do we need to be on the same page and have the exact same goal in mind, but everyone needs to execute their tasks at a very high level for it to all work.  Distractions – whether they come from the business or our personal lives – can ruin the whole thing.  I seriously think I can feel my heart beating faster when I think about it.

I only had one task after I got back from vacation two weeks ago:  start working on the shopping cart. Getting started the first day was really hard.  I started and stopped and worried about this and that probably fifty times.  Eventually I broke through that barrier and started accomplishing one little thing here and one little thing there.  Pretty soon I had a little feature in place.  Skip ahead one week and I had a really cool demo to show my partners.  A week later we’ve integrated my programming with Mike’s first design, and tomorrow we have another cool demo to review.

And that’s exactly how you accomplish a daunting task.  One small goal at a time.  We don’t even have a launch date in mind.  It might be April or May or July or August.  We’re not even sure what features it will and won’t have.  We have an idea, but we’re waiting until the core is built and will re-evaluate at that time based on time and stability of the system.  It still makes me nervous as hell to think about how we can possibly continue to do our current jobs and bring something so large together so fast without someone burning out.  But I try not to think about.  All I think about is the next feature at hand and how that feature needs to be developed so that it is stable, secure, scalable,  etc.   Each week we’ll review what the team did, set the goals for the next week, and move on.  Real quickly this thing will start to come together and we’ll be talking about what needs to be done to wrap everything up.  Until then, it’s all about what needs to get done over the course of the next few hours and days so that I meet my goals for the week.

1 comment on Accomplishing a Daunting Task

  1. Adam Holland says:

    There’s a saying, “How Do You Eat an Elephant? Answer: One Bite at a Time…”

    ..and when I heard that I thought, “Who the F&%# wants to eat an elephant!?”

    I used to do this a LOT. I’d look at the BIG picture and get overwhelmed. And, sure, you want to break it down in to smaller goals. And I’d do that, but maybe not all at once. I’d think of what the absolute FIRST thing I would need to do before anything else to get the big project started.. I’d shut up, stop worrying about the rest, and just do that ONE task.

    When I was done, all I could tell myself was, “Well.. I started.. I guess I need to finish..” haha

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