You’ve defined your project.
You’ve outlined your tasks.
You’ve set your deadlines.
You’re almost there.
You’re 90% done and things are looking awesome.
You’re just about ready to get your project out the door and then…
Shit just stops in it’s tracks. Your productivity train just crashes into a freaking brick wall, and it seems like you start spinning in circles trying to get that final 10% finished. You go back and forth for weeks and weeks trying to get things done, and it just doesn’t happen.
It’s an all too common problem in business and in the entrepreneurial world.
Why Can’t We Just Get Things Done?
Here’s the deal. It’s human nature to be scared of rejection. Most people in this world are pretty risk averse. They fall on the conservative side of the fence. They worry a bit too much about what the future will bring and are afraid to just let things play out.
It’s built into our DNA as humans. We fear the unknown because we evolved that way. Back in our hunter-gatherer days we didn’t know what was in that deep dark cave, out in the cold eerie night, or through that dense unfamiliar forest. We needed to be scared and stressed.
Because it kept us alive…
Well now that same sense of fear, while it might keep us from executing an embarrassing dance move or two at a company event, largely holds us back in the business world.
You see, because of that fear of rejection, that fear of tarnishing our brand, that fear of what people might think if we have a few things that aren’t quite right, we’re afraid to show people these amazing things that we’ve done until they’re basically perfect.
And that KILLS productivity. Not only because most of the time the stuff we worry about doesn’t really matter that much, but also because other things inevitably come up in the meantime. Scope creep shows its ugly face. And the cycle continues.
Rethink What “Done” Means, Define It, and Stick To It
The idea of shipping imperfect products is accepted in the software development world, and has been for many years. That’s why you get online updates and new versions every few weeks. Bugs are always being fixed. Features are always being added. It has to be that way or nothing would ever get done.
The thing I think we all need to understand from a productivity standpoint and for the sake of just getting things done is the rest of the world can work this way too, and in many cases it does. Even cars ship with things that aren’t perfect. Automakers issue service bulletins all the time of common problems. Don’t think they don’t know about these things when these vehicles come off the assembly line.
Sure, they’re not going to ship a car that blows up when you turn the key, but they are going to ship a car that has a slight problem with the wipers now and again. To them, that kind of thing is just not a big enough deal to stop the show.
They know every day that car isn’t selling, they’re losing more money than it is going to cost them to deal with those things later – plain and simple.
The same is true for you. Every day your product doesn’t ship, it’s costing you more development money, opportunity cost, lost revenue, and then some.
And that’s the key. That’s the point you have to get to. What’s that cost tipping point for your product? What is the point where it’s costing you more to not ship it?
Figure out what that absolute minimum is that you need to get things out the door. Save the details for later. Be really hard on yourself here. Dig deep and define your minimum goal.
Ask yourself questions like:
- What are the things we absolutely CANNOT do without?
- At the end of the day, will changing X really matter to the VAST majority of customers?
- Can the product still be effective without X feature or X detail?
- Is this minor tweak really necessary at this very moment?
- Now examine everything again and cut that list down even more
All the while remember this. You are your own worst critic here, because you have the fear of rejection. You are under the gun.
Define what you can do to get it out the door, stick to it, and just SHIP IT!
A Perfect Example of Just Shipping It
A good friend of mine owns ClarkFloyd CrossFit, a CrossFit gym in New Albany, Indiana. It’s been open for just about 3 months as I write this post, and it’s not even close to being finished, and he knows that.
To this day, it doesn’t have a front office. The parking spots were just added outside. The smell of fresh paint is just now fading away in the locker rooms. And the website is just a few pages of basic information.
There’s plenty of other stuff that isn’t perfect too, but he shipped it anyway. And it’s flourishing.
What makes this situation different from anything else?
He sat down at the beginning and defined the minimum he needed to do business with his audience and got it done. He defined that tipping point of “when can I realistically open this thing and start generating real revenue.”
He knew exactly when it was good enough.
And he shipped it.
That place is packed to the walls every single day, with me being a proud member of the crew. It’s momentum is getting stronger by the day, and it’s poised to be an extremely successful business.
You see, while there might be 1 out of 50 people that scoff at the idea of this imperfection, the other 49 couldn’t care less. In this case, the vast majority just want to work out and be part of the community. They don’t mind a bit of a mess – I know I don’t. For that one person that does, send em’ sailing and let the other 49 open their wallets.
And you should do the exact same.
You’ll profit way more in the end of you stop worrying about the “what ifs” of the minority and start focusing on what really matters.
Find that tipping point and race to it, then open the flood gates and let the productivity continue.
Five Words to Fuel Your Success
So with that, I leave you with these five words. Take them with you and remember them next time you’re in a seemingly endless loop of inefficiency.
Stop nitpicking. Just ship it!
To Your Success!