Reverse Engineering: Starting With The End In Mind

Don’t Start With What You Have, Start With What You Want To Come True


Rather than working forwards from our current position, we can work backwards from where we wish to be in the future. Instead of beginning with the starting point in mind, we can begin with the end in mind.

Reverse engineering is a concept that typically relates to product development or manufacturing. It involves starting with an existing product and trying to figure out how it was built after the fact.

However, we can apply this concept more generally in our personal and professional lives, using it for anything from strategy development to time planning.

Rather than starting with the resources, ideas, and time we have and thinking about what we want to do with them, it can be more effective to envision the end goal we want to achieve and then consider what steps would be required to make it a reality.

Reverse Engineering Your Project To Success

“In a world where this project is successful, what will have needed to happen?”

Begin by defining the project's success criteria. What is it that you ultimately want to achieve? From there, work backwards and determine the necessary steps and potential pitfalls. Reverse engineer the process until you reach the present, and then execute accordingly.

Reverse Engineering Your Time Available

“In a world where I’m making optimal use of my time, how does my calendar look like?”

Start with what you want to have gotten to at the end of the day (week, month). What are the things you will have done until then and what are the things you will have chosen not to do? Plan accordingly.

Here are 3 other concepts you might benefit from:

The Control-Concern-Focus Principle

Higher Order Consequences

The Region Beta Paradox