PDQ Pro Writing Retreat: Week One (3/6)

PDQ Pro Writing Retreat: Week One (3/6)

Book Pages on the Wall

Book Pages on the Wall

The first week is behind us. It is amazing to see real progress. I like to call this type of effort “digging sand” – there is a pile and everyone with a shovel just starts digging.

To finish the week, we printed 65 pages and taped them to the wall. After digging sand for the week, a structure naturally starts to appear. It’s almost like sculpting a block of marble. Part 2 (the “red” chapters in the picture has plenty of material for chapter 1 and 3, but very little for chapter 2. So that gets added to the work list for week #2. Same thing for chapters 5, 8, and 9.

We are using the four disciplines of execution, originally popularized by Franklin Covey and explained well in these videos (link). Here is how we have applied the four disciplines:

  • Discipline 1: Focus on the Wildly Important
    The wildly important goal (WIG) in one where failure to execute on it renders all other effort inconsequential. In our case, the wildly important goal is to generate words on the page, based on our experience.
  • Discipline 2: Act on the Lead Measures
    A lead measure is one that is 1) Influenceable, and 2) Predictive of Success. In our case we have two lead measures: daily work sessions, and words written. The schedule has three work sessions each day, and 1,000 words from each of us per day.
  • Discipline 3: Develop (and use) a Compelling Scoreboard
    We talked about the scoreboard in update #2, but here are some numbers:

    • Day 1 Work sessions complete: 3. Words complete: 2604/2000 (+604)
    • Day 2 Work sessions complete: 3. Words complete: 3639/4000 (-361)
    • Day 3 Work sessions complete: 3. Words complete: 6198/6000 (+198)
    • Day 4 Work sessions complete: 3. Words complete: 8503/8000 (+503)
  • Discipline 4: A Cadence of Accountability
    In this case, it is the daily report-out of words. I ask Bill for his numbers and put them into a spreadsheet. The sheet calculates our progress and there it is in black and white. Are we ahead or behind? The numbers don’t lie.

Sunday is a day off, completely, from any work on the project. We won’t even be thinking about it!


PDQ Pro Writing Retreat six part series

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