I'm always interested (since I want to be a Slacker Manager too) in what constitutes a "complete" job or project. What I mean is - when is "done" done enough?
The best example I can give of this is an old sales mantra which instructs sales people to do just enough to win and no more. Any more work or effort beyond what it takes to win is lost and cannot be recovered. I look at this as a corollary to Pareto's rule. His rule of course has usually been stated that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. What I want to know is - how often does 80% of the work constitute enough of a solution to declare a project or effort complete?
This should be of great interest to people who have a passion for productivity, and for those who want to extend the minimum amount of effort to be successful in any endeavor. I have a collaborator who can quite honestly take over an hour to write a 20 line email. Now, that email is a humdinger of an email, but it leaves me wondering if that email couldn't have been written in 10 minutes, and my colleague have moved on to other work. Was the additional 50 minutes of editing and re-arranging words really that valuable?
Don't get me wrong - I am not advocating cutting corners or doing less than a complete job on any piece of work - from an email to a major project. But I am suggesting that we often lard up an effort with unnecessary and extraneous steps and meetings and documents that don't add much to the final product. Part of this, I am sure, comes from the fact that too often we can't define with much certainty what the end goal or the deliverable should look like, so we are forced to toss in some other stuff just in case. Additionally, I think many people believe they should be rewarded for giving 110% percent and demonstrating that by additional frills in a project. Finally, there's a real difference of opinion between the 80 percenters (like me) and the 110 percenters about what constitutes a completed assignment.
When people work for me, I encourage them to do the absolute minimum to achieve the best deliverable they can as quickly as possible, and no more. I'd much rather have a good, quick, clean deliverable in a short time frame than a perfect one that never gets delivered.
What do you think? I'd like to hear from the perfectionists who may disagree with this assessment. Working with people who have a different take on this issue is probably one of the most challenging interpersonal issues in my workplace. When can we declare a project "complete enough"? What is gained by going further than necessary? What's the best way to work with and manage a perfectionist?