The dilemma between finished and perfect product design
The problem is in the phrase itself. These are two different concepts (not opposite, but simply different), so it is rather difficult to compare them. Ready (done, completed) Is a state. This means that we arrive at a pre-agreed definition. Perfect (perfect) Is an assessment, an empirical goal. If we put them in a Venn diagram, then the intersection of these two concepts should become utopia…
If you only strive for excellence, then the moment you achieve it, you will find yourself in front of a tsunami of new ideas and potential iterations that will make your work even better. You will constantly raise the bar, never be happy, and never release a product.
I liked the Beatles example from Tom Peterson s article.
(…) Most of the Beatles records (about 300 in total) are just done. Yet their combined effect has become a fantastically creative piece. In the early years, the band performed tirelessly and found their sound. Lennon and McCartney set aside days for songwriting. Usually, on the appointed day, Paul drove to John: “We always wrote the song on the day, no matter what happened,” – recalls McCartney. “We never had a day without a song.”
Voltaire said: “The best is the enemy of the good.” If the Beatles only played their best songs, we would never have heard of them.
The worst part is that you will never learn anything. Whenever possible, you should share your findings, knowledge and results with colleagues and the world. This way you can find people with similar problems and hopefully find answers. By showing your work to more than one person, you have a chance to correct mistakes that you don t see. This is how we all get better.
“You have to follow through with what you started. You learn by completing work. “
– Neil Gaiman
I tried to represent this dilemma in the form of an XY-graph (write in the comments what you think about it). Here concepts ready (Done) and ideal (Perfect) different again, but now they are equal, not fighting each other. Each concept is located at the end of its axis.
When you start to create something and this wrong (wrong), that is good (point good)… If you keep working and it’s still wrong, then that’s okay, as long as you’re learning. However, if you reach the state “Done “(Done) and the work will still be done wrongthen this is unacceptable. Not! (dot No.!)
Because the rhetoric ready should not support the “move fast and break things” culture. On the contrary, it is against broken things (unless, of course, your definition of “done” includes broken things).
In the second column, the more you work on ideal (Perfect), and ready (Done) productcorrecting your mistakes, you will find that the work is in points “Fine” (Great), “Well done” (Well done) and “Can be done better” (Can do better)… The assessment changes from more joyful to less joyful as you get closer to the state Done… If the product is ready (made), but not perfect (the top point of the second column “Can be done better!”), Then this means that the result is acceptable, not wrong and capable of teaching us something.
Finally, in the third column, things get a lot more interesting. If you start with something ideal (Perfect) and excellent (point Awesome), then the result will not be wrong, because you still have time to improve it. At the point of intersection of the axes Done and Ideally you will get a “Can we do better?” response, thus starting another loop of iterations.
It s all about spending your time wisely, rethinking the problem, exploring your ideas, working with others (most likely your audience), reflecting and having fun!
Go for it! Start something new and do it well. And keep working on it. As Salvador Dali once said: “Do not be afraid of perfection – you will never achieve it.”
Subscribe to the author s weekly Sound and Vision newsletter.