How to Make Things High-Quality

Photo by JD Hancock

When you get into a TTBQT state, the real question to ask is: “If we knew X would take this long to get to high-quality, would we have opted to do it in the first place?”

This is a powerful question because it forces the team to examine what actually went wrong, which is typically:

  • How ruthlessly the team has prioritized.
  • How accurate the team’s estimates are around its ability to execute.
  • How good the team is at actually executing.
  1. Make a list of what your team is working on.
  2. Ruthlessly prioritize each thing in ranked order based on importance.
  3. Cut hard. You can’t do nearly as much as you think you can. (For example, I thought writing this note would take me 1 day. It’s now Day 5.)
  4. Execute well. Set weekly milestones. Operate with a sense of urgency. If #1 starts to slide off track, look at cutting #5, #4, #3, etc… until #1, #2, etc. is set up to succeed.
  5. Ship high-quality work (and succeed or fail with confident learnings). Your users deserve it.
  6. Do fewer things better, but make them the most important things.

My book, “The Making of a Manager” is coming out in March 2019! Order a copy here.



A collection of essays by Julie Zhuo on design, building products, and observing life.

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Julie Zhuo

Building Sundial. Former Product Design VP @ FB. Author of The Making of a Manager Find me @joulee. I love people, nuance, and systems.