The longer you wait, the harder it gets. Inertia accumulates. The project’s tendrils snake down and hold it in place. It takes on grand proportions.
It’s not just the big company launches that are vulnerable. Little projects fall victim too… Sending that email to a client. Deploying those features. Publishing a blog post (ahem).
Momentum builds in a good way, too. The other day, I talked to a team that had been stalling for months. When I saw them last, nothing was particularly different about their business: it remained a cool idea but they still hadn’t cracked retention. But this time, talking to them was totally different. They were shipping like crazy. They felt fast. It almost didn’t matter if they did something stupid because they were movingly quickly enough that it would immediately get fixed. Planning time was down and morale was up.
It’s a self-reinforcing cycle in both directions. The more you ship, the better you feel, the more you ship. The longer you stall, the more important the eventual launch becomes, so you stall even longer.
Imagine you were a film director, and your first-ever film was a huge hit. Then you immediately release a second movie which is just pretty good. People would say, “He’s a pretty good director with the potential for genius!” If you wait 10 years before the second movie, it suddenly seems like such a big deal. You’ve waited so long, so it has to be good! If that movie is just okay, folks will say you’ve lost the touch. So you wait one more year to make it a bit better, but now the expectations are even higher, so you wait two more years.
You get over inertia by forgetting about quality and just getting back to the grind of making stuff and telling people. Ship something. Anything! I haven’t blogged in a while. There’s a bit of inertia built up. So here’s this post.