The perfect is the enemy of the good
This is the rough translation of the famous phrase from the philosopher Voltaire “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien” (which literally means “the perfect is the enemy of the good”), implying that in all process or human activity it is necessary to find a reasonable balance between the intended purpose and the resources used in achieving that.
The pursuit of excellence in addition to laudable is a highly positive development, which is necessary in a professional environment immensely competitive. It is essencial to stand out from the rest and to provide a differential factor to ensure success. This would mean to become an element that contributes substantially to carry out the global objetives within the organization through a generation process of added value.
Unfortunately, in many cases, this pursuit of excellence changes due to those obsessed with perfection. In other words, in the basic formula of every economic process (or in all transaction processes), the necessary value of efficiency is diluted in numerous activities. These are turned into a real burden, and increase the G value in the equation.
Benefits = incomes – expenses
The concept of perfection is rather ambiguous, and we could talk for hours about it. The efficiency and effectiveness are measurable values, especially when we refer to a business environment.
The world of software development is a clear example of the challenge for maximizing the value of B=I-E. The agile methodologies keep in mind the French philosopher reasoning and try to focus the initial processes on the general issue, instead of thinking about the numerous ramifications, exceptions, or rare cases of the implemented issue. Later, these unusual particularities are tackled in various evolutionary phases once the application is in production and being used.
In the opposite direction, classic methodologies always support the idea of going into details before changing the phase. This creates specifications and processes much more complex and lenghty.
This vision can be transposed to any professional field, where the significance of betting on optimizing resources and quality (understood as the adoption of standards), and a proper time management become decisive success factors.
It is a simple matter of balance
Once the “best area” is overcome each increase of quality carries a disproportionate increase of used resources.
How much it would cost “perfection”? What are these resources?
– Time cost: the increase of time dedicated to each quality rise is disproportionate when it reaches the “Best Area”. In the business and organising area time can be perfectly measured in terms of cost according to the hours worked per employee.
– Phsycological strain: trying to improve something difficult to be improved affects phsychologically, since means a monotonous and repetitive work. This can cause stress and frustation on those concerned.
– Loss of creativity: in the same way decreases the ability to generate useful, different and innovative ideas. The incentive that may cause to face different challenges can be lost, so we fall into monotony.
– Not dedication to other tasks: obviously, the excess of time dedicated to a task implies lesser dedication to other that, depending on the case, can be unattended.
For this reason, we must pursue excellence in all those important tasks we undertake. Excellence should be accompained by effective and efficient criteria. Being excellent means being productive, optimize resources and meet expectations that the stakeholders place in us.
“The object of building something is to build something, not make no mistakes”. (Mark Zuckerberg).