Getting over the hump of ‘Analysis Paralysis’

In creative projects, it’s all too easy to slip into long phases of planning, research and prototyping. It’s always important to snap yourself, and your team, out of it if you feel you’re getting trapped in a cycle of monotonous drafts and redrafts.

Analysis Paralysis is a catchy way of saying ‘over thinking’. Sometimes it makes sense to just get going. Don’t get me wrong – it’s essential to have a planning session and conduct research (I am a project manager after all!), but it’s also crucial to know when you’re not making progress and it’s time to put pen to paper.

Of course, the other extreme is no better: hurriedly rushing to a conclusion in order to meet a deadline, grabbing at whatever idea is the best of a bad bunch. So how can you find the middle ground, enough time to get the best out of your team, but not to exhaust the ideation process?

At Signal Noise we try and avoid the grip of analysis paralysis through Agile processes – through iterations we work out ideas and it means that we can show these to clients at an earlier stage. This (almost) always works in our favour.

We also try and organise specific ‘Space to Think’ sessions which allow us to thrash out concepts, ideas and options with the client and the team early on. This means that everyone is involved in the process, but also puts limits on how long it can go on for.

As we’ve all experienced, you can saturate your brain with too much information. So here are 5 tips to avoid brain strain:

5 tips:

  • Set a deadline for a decision… and stick to it!
  • Get key decision makers’ eyes on concepts early so that you can avoid barking up the wrong tree and wasting time.
  • Ensure that you have useful, concise research phases that cover enough bases, but not every single route possible.
  • A rough wireframing stage – quick drawings/wireframes allow you to get designs on a page but there’s no need to overdo the design until a decision has been made on a preferred design route. This means that if you have to start from scratch, it hasn’t eaten up too much of your time.
  • Go for it! If you think you’re on to something, follow your instincts. If it meets your criteria and you’re excited about it, take the leap!