Synopsis

1. Little or big, every project is a new project the first time we undertake it.

2. Big projects consist of little projects that have been planned and organized into a do-able sequence.

3. If there is no process, it is unlikely there will ever be any successful action.

4. Just because we personally don't know how to do a thing, doesn't mean it can't be done. Seek out, and don't presume to reject out of hand, the advice of those who have already done it.

5. Break the project down into definable tasks. If we don't have a mentor to help define the task order, the mere act of listing the tasks should help the pieces fall into place. At this point, we have a plan and should have the courage to proceed.

6. Plan work methodically. Improvise, but secure additional help or resources as we feel we need them. It is always easier to interest others in our project if we have actually started it and have a plan.

7. If we don't have an explicit metaprocess, we get the default metaprocess instead.

8. Just as there is no such thing as a "formula" for life, there is no such thing as a "formula" metaprocess. The thought processes must adapt to the nature and seriousness of the task at hand, and at times even the emotions must heed nature's warning signs when we are getting in over our head. To borrow a popular phrase, the metaprocess needs to embrace a "holistic" approach to the entire problem.

9. The success of the metaprocess depends on experience. If we have applicable experience, wrap it into the current project and project planning. If we have no experience, go out and get some. Start somewhere, and build on that. Experience is the fuel that builds confidence and success.

10. Pure gumption and seat-of-the-pants planning is not such a bad method if we have nothing else available. What we have here (again) is the default metaprocess: if we plan nothing, something will happen anyway so long as we keep moving.

11. Not everyone requires the same approach. This is both because each of us has differing strengths and weaknesses, and because the metaprocess can become automated once we've developed it for a particular project. Starting out fresh in life, every project requires an explicit metaprocess. Later, it's like money in the bank.

12. A larger metaprocess may be constructed of many subcomponent metaprocesses.

13. Larger projects require more complex metaprocesses.

14. Larger organizations, occupations and institutions formalize their metaprocesses and give them specialized names.

15. Our internal metaprocesses need to accommodate a broad range of others' skills, disciplines and viewpoints. In order to forge a set of thinking tools that work for us, we need to be able to compare them competently to other methodologies.

16. Ohe metaprocess for a particular skill can be codified, certified, and passed on to generations of students by educational institutions. We should take advantage of this, insofar as possible, rather than fight it. Here, for the most part, the institution IS the metaprocess, the student supplying the motivation and energy level to learn.

17. Once again, the metaprocess breaks the process down into bite-sized learning chunks, and sequences the chunks into progressive lesson plans. Success consists of mastering one lesson at a time until the course or project has been completed. We can only fail the complete course if we skip, gloss over or stop at a single step. Plan our steps, but keep moving.

18. Success and survival may depend on being able to distinguish the metaprocess from the process, even when they seem the same.

19. "Grow" the metaprocess as we use it. Learn to put smaller metaprocesses together into larger ones, even "on the fly". Do temper changes to the original metaprocess with discipline based on our own prior experience, so that we don't dangerously over-reach existing skill levels.

Observe that the metaprocess is more explicit on the first climb, than on the second. We'll see this again and again: the metaprocess is always there, even after it's automated.

20. The metaprocess need not start with something complex, particularly when a simple intention will do. Part of the plan may include building on the simple metaprocess later.

21. As the skill itself is mastered, or the project becomes very large, the metaprocess becomes an ongoing part of the process.

22. Building our metaprocesses inventory helps us become flexible, adaptable, and more willing and able to try new things.

23. When the human components reach a controlled edge of the personal performance envelope, and stretch the boundaries to a new limit, we've defined a point at which both the metaprocess element and the process element of the achievement become unified - "as one".

24. Start somewhere, but start.

25. The process is the execution of the plan, but the metaprocess is the planning of the process. Equally important, the metaprocess is also the monitoring and mid-course correction of that execution, which we need to prevent the plan from failing through inflexibility after an unfortunate launch.

26. In summary, a plan with a metaprocess is an action with an in-flight guidance system.

27. Finally, don't burn yourself out on planning and control issues. Remember to save some energy to celebrate the ride.


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