PARA Part 7: Creating a Project Network (草翻)

There have been 3 Eras of Productivity in modern times, each defined by a seminal book:

近代以来,生产力有3个时代,每一个时代都有一部开创性的著作来定义。

image

The Values-First Era at the dawn of corporate America told us that character was the most important thing. If you were a virtuous person, living according to principles and high ideals, you’d be successful. But then the cutthroat corporate culture of the 1980’s set in, and everyone realized they had to look out for their own interests.

The Goals-First Era came next, proclaiming that we should have clear goals to help focus our efforts. No one was going to give us a handout, so we had to ruthlessly drive toward the outcomes we wanted to happen. But goals too lost their luster. As the new millennium began and the uncertainty in the world spun seemingly out of control, we started looking for a process to follow.

We are now deep in the throes of the Process-First Era. A little over halfway through, if the average 25-year cycle holds. People march under the banner of their favorite process: Theory of Constraints, Six Sigma, Design Thinking, Agile/Scrum, Getting Things Done, Lean Startup, Habit Loop. Every aspect of modern work is being systematically distilled down to 5 steps that promise results if you’ll only follow the process

美国企业时代的价值优先告诉我们,人品是最重要的。如果你是一个有品德的人,按照原则和崇高的理想生活,你就会成功。但后来80年代的企业文化开始了,每个人都意识到要为自己的利益着想。

接下来,目标优先来了,宣称我们应该有明确的目标来帮助我们集中精力。没有人会给我们施舍,所以我们必须无情地朝着我们想要的结果去努力。但是,目标也失去了光泽。随着新千年的到来,世界的不确定性似乎失去了控制,我们开始寻找一个可以遵循的过程。

现在,我们已经深入到了过程优先。如果按照25年的平均周期来计算,已经过了一半多一点。人们打着自己喜欢的过程的旗号前进。约束理论、六西格玛、设计思维、敏捷/Scrum、Getting Things Done、精益创业、Habit Loop。现代工作的每一个方面都被系统地提炼成5个步骤,只要你愿意按照流程去做,就一定会有结果。

When it comes to personal productivity, the Process-First Era is most clearly manifested in our obsession with habits. Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit (Amazon Affiliate Link) in 2012 kicked off a flurry of thought pieces, habit change frameworks, and products. Silicon Valley jumped on the bandwagon with a conference dedicated to creating habit-forming products. A stream of startups created wearable devices promising to help you stick to good habits.

The appeal of process-based habits is obvious: replacing a far-off outcome with a daily action makes it seem far more manageable. It gives us something immediate to focus on, in the midst of a highly uncertain environment. It distinguishes the fundamental building blocks of behavior out of which big achievements are made. The consensus is clear: goals are dangerous and unproductive — we should create habits instead.

说到个人生产力,"过程第一 "时代最明显地体现在我们对习惯的迷恋上。Charles Duhigg的书The Power of Habit (Amazon Affiliate Link)在2012年掀起了一系列的思想品类、习惯改变框架和产品的热潮。硅谷也加入到了这一行列,举办了一场会议,致力于创造习惯养成产品。一大群初创公司创建了可穿戴设备,承诺帮助你坚持良好的习惯。

基于过程的习惯的吸引力是显而易见的:用一个日常的行动来代替一个遥远的结果,让它看起来更容易管理。在高度不确定的环境中,它给了我们一些可以直接关注的东西。它将行为的基本构件区分开来,而大的成就就是从这些构件中产生的。共识是明确的:目标是危险的、无益的--我们应该养成习惯

But I think we’ve gone overboard in our love affair with habits. Discrete achievements still matter. I don’t care that I wrote X number of words per day — I care that I’ve published a book. I don’t care that I dedicated Y minutes to prospecting new clients — I care that I have a client list.

We don’t need to throw the whole concept of goals overboard in order to start making progress. We need to reinvent what goals are and how they’re formulated in a radically different environment than the one in which they were conceived.

In P.A.R.A. Part VI, I argued for the critical importance of “small-batch” projects in creating an effective Project List. I explained how tightly scoped projects with clean edges contribute directly to focus, creativity, and perspective.

In Part VII, I’ll share with you how to formulate the most important part of small-batch projects: desired outcomes. The scope and the deadline (the other two components) are easy to come up with. It is the desired outcome that defines and shapes what the project is and where it takes you.

但我觉得我们对习惯的热爱已经过分了。具体的成就仍然很重要。我不在乎我每天写了多少字 —— 我在乎的是我出版了一本书。我不关心我花了Y分钟去寻找新客户 —— 我关心的是我有一个客户名单。

我们不需要把目标的整个概念抛得太高,这样才能开始取得进展。我们需要重塑目标是什么,以及如何在一个与设想目标时完全不同的环境中制定目标。

在P.A.R.A.第六部分中,我论证了 "小批量 "项目在创建有效的项目清单中的关键重要性。我解释了紧缩的、边缘清晰的项目是如何直接促进专注力、创造力和视角的提升。

在第七部分,我将与大家分享如何制定小批量项目中最重要的部分:期望的结果。范围和期限(另外两个部分)很容易想出来。正是期望的结果决定了项目是什么,也决定了项目的走向。

FROM PRESCRIBING MEANS TO DESCRIBING ENDS | 从给出答案到描述问题

The key shift we need to make to formulate desired outcomes is from prescribing means to describing ends.

Traditional projects prescribe means: we will do X, then Y will happen, and then we’ll have Z. In a slow-moving environment, laying out all the steps in advance was both possible and effective. The more intermediate steps you completed, the higher the chances of success. Following the plan was actually more important than project success, because you could avoid blame if it failed.

Modern project-based work instead focuses on describing the end state of a project in vivid, exciting, yet objective detail. The purpose is to focus the efforts of a diverse group of collaborators on outcomes that are inherently, immediately valuable (instead of valuable only according to the plan, and “someday”). Many of the people working on the project may move on after it ends. They’re not going to wait around for a 5-year strategic plan to come to fruition.

我们在制定预期结果时,需要做的关键转变是从规定手段描述目的

传统的项目规定了手段:我们要做X,然后Y就会发生,然后我们就会有Z。"在一个缓慢的环境中,提前布置好所有的步骤是可能的,也是有效的。你完成的中间步骤越多,成功的几率就越高。遵循计划实际上比项目的成功重要,因为如果失败了,你可以避免被责备。

而现代的项目型工作,反而注重用生动、精彩而又客观的细节来描述项目的最终状态。这样做的目的是将不同合作者的努力集中在内在的、立即有价值的结果上(而不是只根据计划、"某一天 "才有价值)。很多人在项目结束后,可能会在项目结束后转行。他们不打算等着5年战略计划的实现。

Instead of “Deliver training manual” (a means), we want to ask “What will the manual improve, accelerate, enable, strengthen, accomplish, or increase?” In other words, what is the manual a means to? If it is to “accelerate employee onboarding,” that suggests multiple pathways: a live workshop? An online training? A pre-recorded video orientation? A peer mentoring program? We do need to commit to one of these for now to get started, but having these alternatives in mind will allow us to pivot quickly when new information comes to light. If the desired outcome is instead to “mitigate legal risks,” well that’s a completely different matter. In that case, you might just need some legal boilerplate and then be done with it.

Can you see how a group of collaborators discussing this project around a table are headed for trouble if they don’t agree on the criteria for success?

与其说是 "传递培训手册"(一种手段),不如说是问 "培训手册能提高、加速、启用、强化、完成或增加什么?" 换句话说,手册是一种什么手段?如果是为了 "加速员工入职",那就说明有多种途径:现场研讨会?在线培训?预先录制的视频指导?同行指导计划?我们现在确实需要投入其中的一个项目来启动,但如果有了这些替代方案,当有新的信息出现时,我们就可以迅速做出调整。如果我们想要的结果是 "降低法律风险",那就完全是另一回事了。在这种情况下,你可能只需要一些法律模板就可以了结了。

你能看到一群合作者围着桌子讨论这个项目的时候,如果他们在成功的标准上没有达成一致,他们会有什么麻烦吗?

When we articulate these “desired ends,” just to be clear, we’re not saying they are “correct.” We’re not saying they are the ultimate, final ends. We’re not even saying they are necessarily aligned with the big picture. All we’re saying is that achieving them would be an inherently valuable, worthwhile result. Even if the only result is that we gain more learning about which direction we should be taking.

Paradoxically, the faster and sharper we want to turn, the further out we need to project our desired outcomes. Like a GPS navigation system keeping you headed for your final destination despite all the twists and turns you encounter along the way.

Most project outcomes I see people formulate don’t look further than the means. That would be fine if they at least had the end in mind. But when I ask what that is, the most common response is “Let me think about that…”

当我们阐述这些 "期望的目的 "时,只是为了说明一下,我们并不是说它们是 "正确的" 我们不是说它们是终极的、最终的目的。我们甚至没有说它们一定与大局相一致。我们要说的是,实现这些目标将是一个有价值、有价值的结果。即使唯一的结果是,我们获得了更多的学习,了解到我们应该往哪个方向发展。

矛盾的是,我们想转得越快、越敏锐,就越需要投射出我们想要的结果。就像一个GPS导航系统,尽管一路上会遇到各种曲折,但它却能让你一直向着最终的目的地前进。

我看到大多数人制定的项目结果都不会把目光投射到更远的地方。如果他们至少心中有了目标,那就好了。但是,当我问起那是什么时,最常见的回答是 "让我想想看.........."

For example:

  • Launch new website
  • Deliver new feature set
  • Finalize marketing campaign
  • Finish reading book
  • 推出新网站
  • 提供新功能集
  • 敲定营销活动
  • 读完书

These are outcomes, but not ones that are worthwhile in isolation. What I recommend instead is describing the success criteria. In other words, the standards or metrics by which success will be measured. For example:

这些都是结果,但不是孤立的结果。相反,我建议的是描述成功的标准。换句话说,就是标准或度量标准,用它来衡量成功与否。比如说:

Launch new website: New website is launched, with 10,000 unique visitors, $50,000 in sales, and 15% repeat customer rate by November 30, 2018.” 推出新网站:新网站上线,到2018年11月30日,新网站上线后,网站独特访客数达到1万人次,销售额达到5万元,回头客率达到15%。"

There is no ambiguity around this finish line. Either the website will be launched or it won’t. Either it will have 10,000 unique visitors, or it won’t. $50,000 in sales, or not. 15% repeat customer rate, or not. This will all happen by Nov. 30, or it won’t.

This outcome describes an end state. It outlines precisely “what will have happened.” It is very clear on what must be true for it to be considered successful, without prescribing any particular way of reaching it.

围绕着这条终点线不含糊。要么网站会上线,要么不会上线。要么就会有1万的独立访客,要么就不会。5万元的销售额,或者不会。15%的回头客率,或者不会。这一切在11月30日之前都会发生,或者不会。

这个结果描述的是一个最终状态。它精确地描述了 "会发生什么"。它非常明确地规定了必须是什么才算成功,而没有规定任何特定的达到方式。

You’ll notice that this outcome has many ways of NOT coming true. You could even nail the first 4 metrics, but not by Nov. 30. Having more ways to fail is an important feature of project-based work: everyone wants to know as soon as possible whether a project is off track, because you’re getting paid for results, not time spent.

What tightly scoped projects with clear success criteria really do is surface assumptions. If you have a massive project taking up 80% of your time for the next 6 months, assumptions will only be revealed after the deadline has passed, and management or the client starts taking a hard look at what’s going on. By then, it’s way too late to take corrective action.

Precise outcomes are designed to reveal assumptions as quickly as possible. They are actually hypotheses — designed to be falsified. By making our projects small, we expose their inner workings to scrutiny. By writing falsifiable outcomes, our assumptions about what will happen by when become public records open to questioning.

你会注意到,这个结果有很多方法不能实现。你甚至可以完成前4个指标,但在11月30日之前无法实现。有更多的失败方式是基于项目的工作的一个重要特征:每个人都想尽快知道项目是否偏离了轨道,因为你要的是结果,而不是时间。

严格限定范围的项目,有明确的成功标准,真正能做的是假设。如果你有一个庞大的项目在未来6个月内占用了你80%的时间,那么只有在最后期限过了,管理层或客户开始认真审视项目的情况后,假设才会暴露出来。到了那个时候,再想采取纠正措施已经太晚了。

精确的结果是为了尽快揭示假设。实际上,它们是假设 —— 是被设计成可以伪造的。通过使我们的项目小而精,我们将其内部运作暴露出来,以接受审查。通过写出可伪造的结果,我们关于何时会发生什么的假设就会成为公开的记录,供人质疑。

DESIRED OUTCOMES AS HYPOTHESES | 预期结果为假说

The fundamental nature of goals has changed, from forecasting an outcome to formulating a hypothesis that will yield maximum learning.

For example, one of my current goals is:

目标的根本性质已经发生了变化,从预测一个结果到制定一个能产生最大学习效果的假设

例如,我目前的目标之一是:

Forte Labs content is licensed to 5 people or businesses, producing $5k per month in revenue, by August 31, 2018. Forte实验室的内容授权给5人或企业,每月产生5K美元的收入,到2018年8月31日为止。

This is a good outcome not just because it’s specific, but because there are many ways it could not happen, all of which will yield insights. Here are some of the questions underlying this goal:

这是一个好的结果,不只是因为它是具体的,而是因为它有很多不可能发生的方法,所有这些方法都会产生启示。以下是这个目标的一些问题。

  • Once the licensing agreements are in place, how long does it take to onboard new licensees? 一旦签订了授权协议,新的被授权人需要多长时间才能入驻?
  • Who will license my content? (“people and businesses” are vague, but I could continue to narrow these down as I gather more information) 谁会授权给我的内容?("人和企业 "是模糊的,但我可以在收集更多信息时继续缩小这些范围)
  • How much income will these licensing agreements produce? (the numbers imply $1,000 per license per month, but I really have no idea) 这些许可协议将产生多少收入?(数字暗示每个许可证每月1000美元,但我真的不知道)
  • How long will these contracts run for? (if I reach a $5k run rate by August, will that be easy to maintain, or require constant effort?) 这些合同会持续多久?(如果我在8月前达到5K的运行率,那是容易维持,还是需要不断努力?)
  • How long will it take to get licensing agreements written and approved by my lawyer? (reviewing this goal each month I’ll be able to track progress) 需要多长时间才能写好许可协议并得到律师的批准?(每个月复习这个目标,我就可以跟踪进度)
  • What kind of support or updates will licensees require to maintain a subscription? Is it a one-time transaction or does it require building a relationship? 被许可人需要什么样的支持或更新来维护订阅?是一次性交易还是需要建立关系?

There are others, but this should give you an idea of how specificity surfaces questions. You can’t get specific without making assumptions. And as soon as you articulate those assumptions, you’re free to examine them.

This kind of goal is designed to be falsified, just like a scientific hypothesis. Answering any one of the questions above will require shifting the goal, which is exactly the point. I want the goal to track changes over time, getting closer and closer to reality as completion gets nearer.

This is not about trying to foretell the future or be overly rigid. The intention is to be able to look at the difference between what you aimed for and where you hit, and be able to ask and answer “why?”

There is a distinction here between precision and accuracy. In a corporate environment, they are closely linked: you had better only get precise if you know it’s going to be accurate. But when setting goals for yourself, even in a traditional corporate environment, being precise even at the expense of accuracy will yield the learnings you need to change reality to fit your intentions!

After all, the best way to predict the future is to invent it.

还有其他的,但这应该能让你对具体性表面化问题有一个概念。你不能不做假设,就无法得到具体化。而一旦你阐明了这些假设,你就可以自由地研究它们。

这种目标是*设计好的,就像科学假说一样,是可以被伪造的。回答上述任何一个问题都需要转移目标,这正是问题的关键。我想让目标随着时间的推移而追踪变化,随着完成的时间越来越近,越来越接近现实。

这并不是要试图预知未来,也不是要过于死板。目的是要能够看清自己的目标和所打的目标之间的差距,并能够问和回答 "为什么?"

在这里,精确准确之间是有区别的。在企业环境中,它们是紧密联系在一起的:只有当你知道自己的目标是准确的时候,你才会更加精确。但当你为自己设定目标时,即使是在传统的企业环境中,即使是以牺牲*精确性为代价,也会让你获得改变现实以适应你的意图所需要的知识。

毕竟,预测未来的最好方法就是发明未来。

YOUR PROJECTS FORM A NETWORK, WITH INTERFACES DEFINED BY OUTCOMES | 你的项目形成了一个网络,由结果定义的接口

What you begin to create as you become more fluent in formulating desired outcomes is a personal productivity network. The Theory of Constraints calls this a Prerequisite Tree or a Necessary Condition Network, described briefly in this slide deck and in my upcoming articles in the TOC101 series.

当你在制定期望的结果时,你开始创建的是一个个人生产力网络。约束力理论将其称为前提树或必要条件网络,这在这张幻灯片和我即将发表的TOC101系列文章中都有简单介绍。

This network is a map from where you are, to where you want to be. But the waypoints along that path are not “things you have to do.” That leaves you individually responsible for walking every step, expecting no help from anyone or anything.

这个网络是一张地图,从你在哪里,到你想去的地方。但沿途的路点并不是 "你必须要做的事情" 这让你一个人负责走好每一步,不指望任何人或任何事情的帮助。

They are “things that must be true.” And there are many ways for one of those statements to flip from “not true” to “true” that don’t require your direct effort: changes in the economy, software programs coming out with new features, shifts in the competitive landscape, new people coming into your life.

它们是 "必须是真实的东西" 而且有很多方法可以让这些声明从 "不真实 "变成 "真实",而不需要你直接的努力:经济的变化、软件程序的新功能、竞争格局的变化、新的人进入你的生活。

As an example, here is a prerequisite tree we created for transitioning Praxis from Medium to WordPress. It describes what must be true at each stage to proceed to the next:

作为一个例子,这里是我们为Praxis从Medium过渡到WordPress创建的前提条件树。它描述了在每个阶段必须有哪些内容才能进入下一个阶段。

image

Each dependency can, of course, be broken out in more detail, revealing what must be true at a fine-grained level for these big milestones to be true. New information coming in or changes in scope can reconfigure the network, as you can see comparing the two more detailed trees below, from early in the project and late in the project:

Prerequisite Tree from early in the project, when dependencies weren’t clear

当然,每个依赖关系都可以更详细地分解出来,揭示出这些大的里程碑必须在细微的层面上才是真实的。新的信息进来或范围的变化会重新配置网络,对比下面两个更详细的树,从项目早期和项目后期的树,你可以看到。

项目早期的前提树,当时依赖关系还不清楚时的前提树

image

Prerequisite Tree from late in the project, as dependencies became more clear

前提树从项目后期开始,因为依赖关系变得更加清晰了

image

By mapping out the network of necessary conditions for a new reality to emerge, you are opening yourself up to serendipity. You are positioning yourself to benefit from unexpected opportunities when they arrive at your doorstep. By elevating your perspective, you are moving from trying to wrangle individual nodes into submission, to managing the network effects, surges and pulses, feedback loops and bottlenecks that make networks so volatile, and powerful.

Your projects are the nodes in your personal productivity network. They are the containers into which information flows, intelligence is applied, and work is performed. Desired outcomes are the interfaces between these nodes, allowing projects to work together and become more than the sum of their parts.

通过规划出一个新现实出现的必要条件网络,你就等于为自己打开了一个偶然的机会。当意想不到的机会来到你的家门口时,你正在为自己定位,让自己从意想不到的机会中获益。通过提升你的视角,你将从试图让单个节点屈服,转向管理网络效应、浪潮和脉冲、反馈回路和瓶颈,这些都是使网络变得如此动荡和强大的原因。

你的项目**是你个人生产力网络中的节点。它们是信息流动、智能应用和工作执行的容器。预期的结果是这些节点之间的*接口,使项目能够协同工作,并成为比其部分的总和更多。

image

All the guidelines and recommendations I’ve outlined in this article are designed to make those interfaces as clean as possible. A project could be an outstanding success on its own, but if it doesn’t have clean interfaces that can connect it to other projects, it will be a lonely beacon in the night.

Clean interfaces — clear desired outcomes — are what allow a project node to rely on its neighbors. To build upon and extend the momentum of the ones that came before. If it’s unclear where a project begins and ends, it’s like an irregularly shaped, fuzzy node. Like Legos, not having a clean edge means it can never become a piece in a beautiful new creation.

It’s worth adopting a standardized definition of “desired outcome,” even if you don’t accept mine. That’s because you have much bigger things to worry about. You are the manager of the highway system — you can’t afford to be performing safety checks on individual cars. Standardizing and semi-automating the way you formulate your projects allows you to ascend to a higher horizon: managing portfolios of projects.

Any given project on its own is trivial. But as part of a portfolio, they can change the world.

我在这篇文章中列出的所有准则和建议,都是为了让这些接口尽可能的干净。一个项目本身可以是一个出色的成功,但如果它没有干净的接口可以将其与其他项目连接起来,那么它将成为黑夜中的一盏孤零零的灯塔。

干净的接口--明确的预期结果--是让项目节点能够依靠它的邻居的原因。于前人的基础上,延续前人的发展势头。如果一个项目的起点和终点不清晰,就像一个不规则的、模糊的节点。就像乐高斯一样,没有一个干净的边缘,就意味着它永远无法成为一个美丽的新创造中的一个棋子。

即使你不接受我的,也值得采纳一个标准化的 "期望的结果 "的定义。那是因为你有更大的事情要操心。你是高速公路系统的管理者--你不可能对个别车辆进行安全检查。将你制定项目的方式标准化和半自动化,可以让你提升到一个更高的境界:管理*项目的投资组合。

任何一个项目本身都是微不足道的。但作为项目组合的一部分,它们可以改变世界。

PARA Part 7: Creating a Project Network(EN)
PARA Part 4: Setup Guide - Forte Labs(已翻译)