12 Days to Go!! (Well, not really)

Well everyone, we are in the final weeks before Round 2 submissions are due for this year’s Imagine Cup.  My team met yesterday and I feel that things are progressing fairly well in our project.  However, getting past the round 2 submission is only the beginning.  Getting past the second round, while certainly an  achievement, should not be considered a rest stop on your journey to NYC, but rather a mile marker.

It all starts so innocently.  Your team has worked hard and you just want to wait to see if you were selected as one of the five teams in the fall competition.  However, let’s say you don’t make it for the fall.  If you aren’t working on the project, it is so easy to say that you will pick back up again a month or so before the spring deadline.  Or let’s even say that you do make it. Your project rocks, right?  So you can just hammer out a presentation a few weeks into March and head to the national finals.

It is so easy to lose momentum on your project…and lost momentum can cost your team dearly.   There are a few good reasons for this:

1. ) Your team is wasting valuable time that they could be using to improve your project.  This is important whether or not you are selected in the fall.  If you don’t make it, then you can use this time to get some feedback on why you weren’t selected (try talking to your Academic Developer Evangelist to see why), and to make improvements.  If you are selected, you may have even more work to do.  You have to put together a presentation and demo and then begin the process of showing anyone and everyone that will take a look at it.  The more times your team can run through your demo and presentation:

    • Your team will be better at delivering it.
    • Your team will be asked questions that the judges may ask, so they can come up with clear and concise answers to these questions before it counts at finals.
    • Your team can make sure that their demo is flawless.

2.)   Take a lesson from physics.  A body in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted on by an outside force.  I believe that is Newton’s first law of motion, and it is equally applicable here.  Teams that don’t break, find it easy to continue on with their projects.  In contrast, those that shut down for a while find it more difficult to get started again.  Just think about it, most likely your team is working like a finely tuned machine in the days leading up to the submission deadline.  Why let that go??

So take it from me, do everything you can to resist taking a break.  Your team can only benefit by continuing to improve the project. I think that Coach Lombardi said it best.

Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit. – Vince Lombardi

So keep on working guys, and I will see you in NYC.

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