Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Perfect is the enemy of Very Good

I found this a good, quick read and helpful as a reminder on how to tackle hard problems. My takeaway was to take action and not wait until "all the data is in" before making a decision. In short, deliver the Very Good as opposed to Perfection. As the CEO of the company I work for said recently, working in a vaguely correct direction is better than standing still. [Update: In the software business, the remark about "working in a vaguely correct direction is better than standing still" works because of Scrum. If you are talking to your client and demonstrating your solution every 30 days, your can have that meaningful conversation where both parties refine the problem and the solution together.]

The full discussion for the quotes below is here: http://pliantalliance.org/?p=34
Never let perfect stand in the way of very good.

It may be tempting to wait until you have the time, the knowledge, or the inclination to design the “perfect” solution, especially if you aim to solve the real problem. However, you must temper this instinct with practicality. While it may look like you are holding out for “the perfect solution” (that solves the whole, real problem), what you are really doing is preventing “the very good solution” that can be applied in the interim. We must recognize that perfection can only be approached asymptotically through evolution of design and implementation: in essence by refining our deployed very good solutions to make them more perfect. Solving the real problem should be applied where scope allows and it should guide our path to tell us where perfect is, but we are allowed to get there in more than one step. Very good solutions have value, and value delayed is value lost.
The same site had a good collection of quotes regarding change and flexibility:
"He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator.."

1 comment:

Jeff Black said...

In the software business, the remark about "working in a vaguely correct direction is better than standing still" works because of Scrum. If you are talking to your client and demonstrating your solution every 30 days, your can have that meaningful conversation where both parties refine the problem and the solution together.