I recently attended NetApp Insight in Las Vegas, and I was hoping to write a daily blog article while at the event. That plan was quickly replaced by the reality that I was going to be working each night from my hotel room. Despite my attempts to have all projects in a stable state before leaving for the conference unexpected needs arose and my agenda had to be put aside to deal with these new workloads. The result was that not only did I not have time to blog while at Insight, but the backlog flowed into the next week and I decided not to blog at all last week. I just did not have the bandwidth to attend the conference, work each night, and blog.
I hate being put in this sort of position: Do I deliver an inferior product and meet all deadlines, or do I drop a commitment and deliver high quality on only top priority projects?
Well the absence of blog articles tells you what I decided upon. You cannot rush quality. You have to commit to delivering it, and that also means having to prioritize projects. This also requires being able to make the tough decision of what will not be pursued because the results will be of poor quality.
This happens in IT all the time. We want to upgrade the network, replace the servers, fix that buggy application, and fine tune the storage. All of these are good projects to pursue, but if the resources are not there to deliver high quality results with each project it is better to drop one or more of these projects. You will do better to focus on delivering high quality results on one project in particular. Pick the highest priority project that will deliver the most for your organization, and then put the rest to the side to be picked up at another time.
Ferrari would rather fall behind schedule on production then to deliver a single flawed automobile. That is why Ferraris are exceptional automobiles that can demand high prices from the market. Other auto manufacturers have models with an “acceptable” numbers of flaws per production run. Those models fight tooth and nail against the competition based on prices and low margins.
Do you want to be in the business of making a Ferrari that your customer will love or of competing in a race to the bottom? I would rather miss an article being posted then to have a poor quality article posted everyday on this blog. It is a hard decision for me to make, because I am committed to this blog and to posting articles on a regular basis. Yet that is the only approach that I know will ensure that this blog continues to grow and develop into a great resource for others.
Never compromise on quality. If you make that your first and foremost priority the rest will fall into place. That is what distinguishes great professionals from everyone else in their field.