MONEY IS NOT THE 'SCARCE COMMODITY'. SMALL, DEDICATED AND TALENTED TEAMS ARE

ELON MUSK

4 main Paperclip objectives

1 - Minimize time

means more decisiveness

Identify MVP and prototype

Identify a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) and a prototype.

This helps in preventing so-called Scope Creep.

Prioritize unknown essentials

At the start, identify the essential elements that are either unknown or difficult.

Prioritize those elements and build a Proof of Concept for each.

This prevents major unforeseen future delays

Apply timeboxing

Allocating fixed time periods for specific tasks fosters efficiency, decisiveness and it reduces 'Analysis paralysis'.

Better not to deliver on all planned functionality than to overshoot the deadline.

Create short deadlines

By planning short deadlines, pressure is created.

They prevent the so-called Student Syndrome, which stands for 'doing the work until the last moment'.

Also, a scheduled Launch Party fosters 'Reality Checks'.

2 - Minimize target

means more focus

Create 'Luxury problems'

Focus on creating luxury problems, like too many customers for the system to accommodate. Don't solve the capacity issue before such a luxury problem comes about.

Think YAGNI (You Ain't Gonna Need It). For instance, simple hosting is fine when you start a project.

Functionality centric

Every project has many distractions, from Essential to Nice To Have.

Keep focussing on essential functionality, not colours or animation.

Focus on 1 user only

Prevent feature creep. Initially, focus on one user using the new system, not a million.

Having a million users is a luxury problem, so scalability can be addressed later on.

Focus on User experience

Focus on building functionality for the user, not for the backend, which is secondary, and can potentially be done manually.

3 - Minimize team

means better communication and planning

Create the smallest team

In a small team, communication is easy.

Additionally, team members feel more responsible for the group effort and can not hide behind other members for failing to meet their targets.

Select multi-skilled individuals

Teams can become smaller by selecting multi-skilled team members.

This reduces the need for memos and meetings.

Put them in the same room

Working in the same room fosters responsibility, a shared purpose and mutual understanding.

In general: to meet someone is better than to call, to call someone is better than to email.

Have the customer present

Working face to face with the customer is conducive to better understanding and easier communication.

Ideally, the team works at the customer location.

4 - Minimize tech

means less bloat

Favor manual short-cuts

Favor quick manual implementation over automation.

Often, something just needs to be done one time and in a flexible manner. Manual implementation then trumps automation.

Favor non-technical solutions

Favor non-technical solutions over automation.

For instance, sometimes it is better to let users correct their mistake instead of letting the software prevent the mistake.

Avoid tech staking

Technology can be your friend, but is also a monster that needs to be tamed.

Therefore it is wise to use a few standard development tools. It also makes it easier to hire new team members.

Avoid high-tech solutions

Utilize a planning board over planning software, or utilize both.

Team members will notice it daily and therefore automatically get a sense of priority and progress.
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