Fast Failure System
On some projects you can plan your work, then work your plan. On other projects, it's like that old fighter's adage: "Everybody's got a plan till the first punch." This is the state of affairs with my video-in-process (Working title:"Great Dames Take Naps" or GDTN.) Every idea I can visualize crashes & burns in the execution. Therefore I'm implementing the Fast Failure System.
One of the most intriguing business books I ever read was called "Incredibly American."* A quality improvement team at AT&T set out to discover the meaning of quality to Americans (back in the 1990s, when the Japanese were kicking our ass).** In a nutshell, they discovered that the Japanese value Perfection and Americans, well, don't. Americans value Action, Failure, and Redemption. We learn by failing.
My Fast Failure System is a variation of what AT&T came up with. In technically difficult projects, only active experimentation works: Inspiration. A little paper and pencil work. Sit at the computer. Oh, sh*t, I can't make this work (or it looks like hell). But wait... what if I...? Oh, THAT looks cool! Maybe I'll build around THAT idea.
I guess people who make money in sales live by this lesson. Move fast. Keep dialing the phone. Try a different approach. Don't take things personally. They know how many cold calls it takes to make one sale.
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* Incredibly American: Releasing the Heart of Quality Incredibly American: Releasing the Heart of Quality by Marilyn R. Zuckerman and Lewis J. Hatala
** Before American manufacturers stopped caring about quality altogether and disappeared in a puff to China, Korea, and Taiwan.