Take action – Why your projects don’t need to be perfect.
I have a graduate engineer in my team who I’d asked to survey our team to catalogue their experience, capability and qualifications for marketing of future projects. In a week, she set up a fantastic online questionnaire, worked with others to agree categories and groupings and supposedly by the end of the week, was already to go.
Fast forward two weeks, the survey hadn’t been sent out, I’d had multiple discussions with her about who should and shouldn’t be on the list, is the list complete, should we include affiliated project teams, are the groupings right, that person’s got a better list than ours should we use it, etc etc etc ……….
“Just send it already and sort the other stuff out later, you’re 2 weeks late!” is what I wanted to yell in frustration, but politely I pointed out that all this procrastination is not getting us anywhere, the survey was ready to go two weeks ago, we need to send it out.
I see this all the time in projects and proposals, the unachievable quest for perfection, or more appropriately the unnecessary quest for perfection in daily and routine tasks.
The art of doing only what is required is fundamental to successful project management. Yes, perfection is a nice to have, but there’s a difference between producing something adequate to something with all the bells and whistles, I’m sure you know about The law of diminishing returns.
Better stated this is the 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle in action, whereby as the ‘rule’ goes, 20% of your actions will produce 80% of your results.
So folks, next time you’re procrastinating, finalising, polishing and re-jigging that report, deliverable, plan or design, take action, ask yourself if the likely returns are worth your continued effort.
Nine times out of ten (8/10 according to Pareto), you’ll find it’s time to move on to the next task, your time can be better spent elsewhere.
PS. It only took me 15 minutes to write this post, excuse spelling and grammar!