Begin With The End In Mind

One of the dictums from SevenHabitsOfHighlyEffectivePeople, the book by StephenCovey.

There are many similarities with the SuccessOrientedApproach (except it passes the MeyerTest)

To be effective, it helps to start with a very clear vision of what is to be achieved.

He makes an analogy of working very hard, and even efficiently, to climb rungs of a ladder, only to find that the ladder is against the wrong wall! Which is why so many writers assert that a key goal of LeaderShip is to provide vision - a cogent expression of the common dream we are all striving to create.
The StephenCovey analogy reminds us to make sure our efforts are focused in the right direction.

I don't like the analogy because a ladder is linear and could imply the right wall is static.

The concept of knowing which direction to take I think is essential, especially when working in teams and even in incremental development. I think the idea of having a fixed goal in mind (maybe after much BigDesignUpFront) is limiting. How is "which direction to take" different from a "fixed goal" and why is it not limiting? And how can the selection of a goal be considered "Big Design?"

There is a balance between making progress towards a goal and questioning which goal we should be headed towards.

In software development I think the goal can be dynamic but needs to be explicit (i.e. fully revealed or expressed without vagueness, leaving no question as to meaning or intent, fully developed or formulated, unambiguous in expression). Often it is not. -- PaulCaswell
Note that each person can pursue a different end. The point is to clearly visualize your ideal end (or ends), and that it's very important to know everything you're aiming for.

Indeed, much of the value of this concept comes from realizing that we have multiple goals in life. We often focus on just one goal at a time, without recognizing its impact on our other goals. The principle to BeginWithTheEndInMind ensures that we have a solid, broad perspective. -- BrentNewhall
Note that, for most practical purposes, this limits you to repeating things that have been done before. Those are the main things that you understand well enough to choose as goals and plan systematically to achieve.

While a great many human successes have been achievements of goals known in advance, the vast majority of human success has been mostly unplanned. People enter into new things, they make discoveries, the find new and unexpected opportunities--successes they could not possibly have envisioned in advance. If you limit yourself to always and only BeginWithTheEndInMind, you are cutting out nearly all potential--everything that the unknown has to offer.

-- BenKovitz

Covey does not imply that one should progress only towards the goal. Instead, he suggests that -- since it's better to have some direction in life rather than none -- one should identify and progress towards good goals in the absence of any stronger motivation. If something comes up, all the better. -- BrentNewhall
See also CodeUnitTestFirst

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