You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. — Mark Twain

Can you imagine painting a picture without knowing what you’re going to paint? That would almost be impossible, wouldn’t it?  Beginning an effort with the end in mind not only gives a clear destination, it also makes the overall effort easier. The paradigm of beginning with the end is nothing new. In fact, you see it in almost every creative discipline.  It’s also one of Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people.  Here are some examples:

It’s how the Apple Ipod was made.
Designer Jonathan Ive helped design the IPod. Jonathan Ive began with the end in mind. In fact, the first 4 iterations of the IPod were very similar, beginning with Generation 1 back in October 2001. The idea was first approved before mass production began. The IPod team created a new market which spanned the globe. It all started with the end in mind.

It’s how autos are made.
Even with today’s advanced machinery, new cars are not produced without an initial design. Mass production doesn’t begin until the end idea or goal is approved.

It’s how federal aviation runs.
In today’s controlled airspace, a pilot doesn’t takeoff without a flight plan. Each flight plan contains the takeoff/landing times along with the destination.

Beginning with the end in mind often saves you a ton of headaches when planning an application. First lay out the basic expectations and design accordingly, before any code is written.

Training Plans
The systematic design of instruction, also known as Instructional Systems Design (ISD), always begins with a goal in mind. Having clear objectives up front makes the entire process more efficient, saving everyone time and money.

Athletes have written books about improving athletic performance. One of the primary things they do is visualize the ‘end in mind’.

Build your life
If I want peace, health, or a good nights sleep I first visualize the goal and map out a plan to get there. Beginning with the end in mind is a pretty simple concept that has a lot of applications in all areas of life.

Be well.