How to Build an Idea Into a Project

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Have you ever gotten an idea for a great new product but felt overwhelmed, like it would take too much time, or you were unsure how to execute it? Have you ever been fed up with how a process or application currently works and found yourself dreaming about how it could be better? Sometimes turning that idea into reality seems harder than it needs to be, and it never sees the light of day.

There are many factors that determine if a project will be successful or if it is even doable. Unfortunately, many great ideas fail for reasons that could have been avoided. Identifying some of these reasons can be difficult, but hopefully, after reading this, you will have some good pointers to guide you on your next grand idea, how to portray your idea to others, and finally, how to turn it into a successful project.

What are you trying to solve?

When attempting to portray your idea to others, it’s best to identify the problem you are trying to solve. Making everyone involved aware of the details of the issue and the potential solution is a good way to avoid making flawed assumptions. Knowing the history of the issue will help you to avoid making the same mistakes. Explaining what your problem is and assessing the severity can be more difficult than it needs to be and can result in tasks related to the idea not being completed in a timely matter.

Instead of getting frustrated, try breaking down your problem into simpler, measurable units of time or money. I have found this really helps to make the problem manageable, provides realistic timelines and goals, and helps the project be completed in an efficient way.

What is your idea?

Now that you have a clear idea of the problem you are attempting to solve, you can refine your original idea. First, start by writing out your idea and all its features. This will make it easier to portray the value of your idea. Be as descriptive as you can with how your idea solves the problem. Do not be afraid to play Devil’s Advocate; this may help to recognize holes in your own idea. If you have the ability, try to determine your estimate on timing and cost.

Remember, no project comes without risk, so understanding the potential risks of doing this project is key. It’s okay if there are some unanswered questions or assumptions that need to be validated or risks that need to be accounted for. Those will likely work themselves out, but being aware of them may help to mitigate some of the associated hiccups along the way.

Does your idea have potential?

After you know the severity of your problem and have a good idea of your solution, you can start to assess how good your idea is. Determining the potential of your idea is the key factor in knowing if your idea is worth completing. If your idea is cost-effective and low-risk, it has the potential to be a good idea and you should start working on your pitch.

How to start your pitch

Start your pitch with an understanding of the current issue and identify its severity; who does this currently affect and how can we make their lives easier? Once you have built common ground on the current problem and are all on the same page, you can begin to pitch your idea. Now is the time to shine! Explain how your idea solves the problem and how you would measure success. Be candid about the downsides and any unknowns, and be open about everything with your stakeholders so that they are not surprised later. You’ve got this!

Author

  • Sari Rahal

    Lead Software Development, Imaging Solutions, CU*Answers

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