Schedules are better than plans. Just blocking out the time during which you will tackle a task is more important than figuring out how you’re going to do it. We’re going with an assumption that you are motivated and competent. Everything else is logistics and being a quick study on details.
For a large project, you need to have a plan because you have multiple people involved. Even in an Agile setup, you need a project plan. “Agile” isn’t an excuse for no planning or for laziness. However, once that’s set up, it’s too easy to fall into the trap of making plans, to-do lists, and task orders—and find the work has slipped past you.
Whereas, if you are scheduled to work on a task, you will find yourself actually getting it done. For my Calliope build, the only reason I made continuous forward progress was by blocking out time. This meant that I’d always a) post an update on Tuesdays and b) spend some time at my homemade lab bench.
That I always posted at http://Science20.com on Tuesdays meant I had to have something to post about, which gave me an incentive to keep the project moving forward. Forcing myself to be at the lab bench (small as it might be—Figure 7-1) meant the satellite build always progressed.
This wouldn’t have happen if I kept reading things, making plans, strategizing, developing concepts, and similar useful—but not generative—thought work. Night is for thinking, day is for doing.
Many others have built small satellites, but (to my knowledge) ...