Good enough: You are doing it wrong

The concept of “good enough” is often mistaken by the definition of done. This comes at a price: An increasing technical debt of your projects.

You may already know what it is like to finally launch that new project. Your team is full of excitement, your clients are happy and yet, there is this distinct feeling that you could have done better. Of course it is not like you are the perfectionist — you do know that concept of good enough, when 80 percent readiness suddenly become, well, good enough.

While this is great and might be something your stakeholders will approve as a final version, you should be aware that a minimum viable product (MVP) does not comply with a definition of done. And while there often is no chance to actually develop that product any further (like when your client is perfectly happy with that MVP and will not pay for additional features or bugfixes) there is still a debt on your project.

Lessons learned: Never stop improving

There is a common perception that you are done, when it is good enough. You are not. The most important steps have to be taken once you are done with your project:

  • Write down your lessons learned.
  • Do apply these lessons learned, when needed (that is, you have to actually learn & to understand them).

If you miss these two actions, you (and your team) are doomed to start from sketch with every new project. Remember those moments, when you think by yourself “wow, this is just an everyday project and it feels like we are doing this for the first time — again!” This is your hidden technical debt, the lack of know-how you could have gained last time. It is expensive. It will slow you down. It will prevent you from learning the new stuff — because you have to learn the old stuff, again.

Good enough, not yet done

It is perfectly fine to finally launch a project that is considered good enough. It is not acceptable to expect you are done, though. Learn your lessons. Be aware of the things that did not work as expected and think about how you can do better next time. This is not about being perfect, but about being professional. Over time, you will be able to deliver much greater solutions and to raise the level of readiness of your projects. Even when they are “just good enough.”

Want to know more? Feel free to add a comment or contact Robert Lippert via LinkedIn or Xing.

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