Shelley Bassett



brainstorming ideas before starting a project

3 Questions to ask before starting a project

March 15, 2019

When starting a new project, there are lots of things to consider. These important questions should be the first things you ask.

It can be really daunting when starting a project. Maybe you’ve just finished something major, or already have several things on the go. No matter what stage you’re at, these are important things to consider before you begin any undertaking.

One of the first thing’s you’ll notice is that these are yes/no questions. They’re not an open ended discussion about future directions or left-of-centre ideas. They’re designed to help you quickly decided if an idea, task or project is worth researching further. Although I tend to use these questions for creative ideas, they’re also valuable for business, personal, financial and just general planning.

Don’t dwell on the questions. If you have to think to long about an answer, it’s probably a no. I like to use the 2 strikes rule. If I answer no to 2 questions, I need to move on. Only 1 no? It might be an idea worth looking into, but proceed with caution.

Brainstorming ideas before starting a project

Does this fit my future direction?

If you answer no here, move on. Don’t even bother with the other questions, because they’ll both come out no too.

It’s a very useful place to start your evaluation. Late last year I started making soap on a whim. Inspired to remove all the plastic from my home (something I’m still pursing), I wanted to make my own shampoo. And then I got all carried away and wanted to start my own soap making business.

Had I stopped for a minute and looked at my current life goals, which all revolve around art and design, I would have seen that this clearly didn’t fit with my current status. 3 weeks later and some bar shampoo bought from Lush, I achieved the plastic free goal without the added hassle of starting my own business. Asking does this fit my plan early can save a lot of time… And money!

Does this fit my current goals?

It’s no secret that I like goals. I’m very objective-driven, and having something to aim for really helps to keep me on track. But it’s also a useful tool when deciding if a project is for you. Similar to the first question, asking how starting a project fits with future directions can help determine if this is a no, never or a maybe down the track type project.

I evaluate my goals 6 monthly. And in that time I can complete any number of projects depending on the scope of each. For this reason, when I consider undertaking something new, I always go back to what my goals are. If starting a project doesn’t fit with what I currently want to achieve, it’s time to move on and find something new.

Is this worth it?

The final question is a little more ambiguous, and the answer might not be immediately obvious. But only weight it up until you have an answer. If you need to justify your choice, you’ve answered wrong.

Is starting a project worth it? This involves weighing the costs against the profits. If it will cost too much time, money or emotional energy to complete, will it really be worth it in the end? That being said, sometimes the hardest tasks have the greatest rewards.