When you’re working on a creative project, it sometimes helps to begin working on the last part and work backwards, as Edgar Allen Poe often did with his poems.
As creative sice Misc Magazine points out, the famous author often began writing with the last portions of his poems, using that as both a template and a goal post for the rest of the poem. Once he had the end in mind, he knew how to deal with some of the problems that come up in the beginning:
Poe wrote his last stanza first. This enabled him to determine his structure and progression, and afforded him to graduate levels of importance and wit. It also established the rhythm, meter, length, and general arrangement of his stanzas. Defining an initial set of constraints helps to set the parameters of the experience. Poe believed a popular poem had to be short in duration, and limited himself to about a hundred lines. He devised a tonal trajectory that would build to his desired effect of beauty. In doing so, Poe established constraints of both form and feel. What are the ideal structures, rhythms, durations, themes, and tones of your brand’s key touchpoints? It may seem counter-intuitive, but working backwards from the desired effect is often the best way of mapping a customer journey.
This can work in a lot of areas. If you’re trying to write a book, start with the climax. If you’re developing an app, begin by designing how it should be used. When you start by clearly defining the result, you can give yourself a filter for everything else you work on.