Monday, December 01, 2008

Don't Just Stand There, DO Something!

Finally, an article that quantifies what I have often felt but didn't know how to explain concerning the inefficiencies of big corporations: They become inefficient because they have too much process, or, as Paul Graham explains, because they are too careful.

On a smaller scale, I've realized that it is often better to simply DO something rather than spend too much time thinking, or really, agonizing, about how it should be done. If you're not sure how to proceed, then simply exclude any stupid directions and pick randomly from what is left. If you happen to have chosen the right path, then you are done. If you chose wrong, then you have effectively reduced the number of choices and can perhaps even use the experienced gained to choose better between those that are left. Often you can go through several cycles of trial and error before you could have made a decision simply by thinking about it.

You may say there are some endeavors where this does not work such as spaceflight or safety systems, but I suggest you can use this same principle there. Not that you won't have failure, but if you are working in engineering, you should be working with test harnesses and other simulators. In software, this has led to "agile development" or "test driven development". If you're not doing this, start.

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