Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Balance is of the Essence

Time is of the essence.
In a contract this means that failure to complete the work by the agreed up deadline constitutes a breach.  Deadlines enable cost controls and ensure predictability.  In yesterday's post I talked briefly about Federal Engagement in Standards development.  One of the key phrases used in communication at the Federal level about their standards strategy is "Impatient Convener".  There are a number of other activities where speed seems to be essential.

A counterpoint to this focus on "speed" is doing it right.
There is never enough  time to do it right, but there's always enough time to do it over.  -- Jack Bergman
Make Haste Slowly - Anonymous
Only that which is well done is quickly done. -- Augustus
How do you balance the imperatives of time and quality?  In the three-legged triangle of project management, you must be able to balance resources, quality and functionality.  When any two are fixed, the other must be variable.

According to the triangle inequality (|A| + |B| > |C|), there are collections of triangle sides that don't work.

We (standards professionals) have to be careful with how we address issues where time is of the essence.  A failure to meet the deadline is certainly a problem, but even worse would be a failure to deliver on quality or worse yet, to deliver something that doesn't add the necessary value.

What is truly essential to success is balance.

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