From Building a Second Brain

  • Make project template page and project queue folder #todo-admin ⏫

See pre-flight checklist from second brain Tiago book. Turn into template with spaced repetition to periodically return to it and update. When project becomes active, it gets its own folder.

  1. Capture my current thinking on the project.
    • I often find that the moment a project begins to form in my mind, I start to have ideas and opinions about it. I like to start by creating a blank note and doing a brainstorm of any thoughts that come to mind.
    1. Review folders (or tags) that might contain relevant notes.
    1. Search for related terms across all folders.
    1. Move (or tag) relevant notes to the project folder.
    1. Create an outline of collected notes and plan the project.
    • I encourage you to use my kickoff checklist as a starting point and customize it over time as you understand how it fits into your own context.

Here are some other options for actions you might want to include in your own version:

  • Answer premortem questions:
    • What do you want to learn?
    • What is the greatest source of uncertainty or most important question you want to answer?
    • What is most likely to fail?
  • Define success criteria:
    • What needs to happen for this project to be considered successful?
      • What are the minimum results you need to achieve, or the “stretch goals” you’re striving for?
  • make a budget and timeline, and write out the goals and objectives

AFTER pre-flight define process & schedule for revisiting to determine if the project should be made active


Checklist #2: Project Completion (Location 2586)

We don’t want to limit ourselves to merely celebrating the end of a project. We want to learn from the experience and document any thinking that could add value in the future.

  • Here’s my checklist:
    1. Mark project as complete in task manager or project management app.
      • Often there are a few lingering tasks needed to completely wrap it up—such as getting final approvals, filing paperwork, or disseminating the project deliverables—which is why I start by looking at my task manager
    2. Cross out the associated project goal and move to “Completed” section.
      • Each project I work on usually has a corresponding goal. I keep all my goals in a single digital note,
      • I like to take a moment and reflect on whether the goal I initially set for this project panned out.
        • what factors led to that success?
        • How can I repeat or double down on those strengths?
        • If I fell short, what happened? » failure
        • What can I learn or change to avoid making the same mistakes next time?
      • Any time I need some motivation, I can look through this list and be reminded of all the meaningful goals I’ve achieved in the past
    3. Review Intermediate Packets and move them to other folders.
      • Any IPs I decide could be relevant to another project, I move to that project’s folder. The same goes for notes relevant to areas or resources
    4. Move project to archives across all platforms.
      • The full contents of everything you archive away will always show up in future searches, so you don’t have to worry that anything will be lost.
    5. If project is becoming inactive: add a current status note to the project folder before archiving.
      • jot down a few comments so I can pick it back up in the future. For example, in a few bullet points I might describe the last actions I took, details on why it was postponed or canceled, who was working on it and what role they played, and any lessons or best practices learned.

Here are some other items you can include on your Project Completion Checklist. I encourage you to personalize it for your own needs:

Answer postmortem questions:

  • What did you learn?
  • What did you do well?
  • What could you have done better?
  • What can you improve for next time?

Communicate with stakeholders:

  • Notify your manager, colleagues, clients, customers, shareholders, contractors, etc., that the project is complete and what the outcomes were.
  • Evaluate success criteria:
    • Were the objectives of the project achieved? Why or why not?
    • What was the return on investment?
  • Officially close out the project and celebrate:
    • Send any last emails, invoices, receipts, feedback forms, or documents, and celebrate your accomplishments with your team or collaborators so you receive the feeling of fulfillment for all the effort you put in.
  • Since you don’t know for sure that any of this material will ever be useful again, you should minimize how much extra time and attention you invest in it. Put in just enough effort that your future self will be able to decide if the material is relevant to their needs