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Tuesday, August 29, 2020

When "Near Enough" Isn't

Here's an interesting quote from Edward de Bono (of lateral thinking fame), courtesy of Management Issues for August 28th, 2006:
If you have an obvious problem and think you have a solution, what is the need for creative thinking? Actually, there is a real need, because an adequate solution is not necessarily the best solution. Too often, the adequate blocks the best when it comes to problem solving.
When people are rushed, harried, anxious, and desperate to meet the deadline or this month's financial targets, even an adequate solution seems like a godsend. The quick fix, the "near enough" solution, is chosen right away. Who has time to stop and think again?

I wonder how many great opportunities are lost forever, simply because a harassed employee jumped at an adequate solution instead of taking his or her time to find a really good one? I've used software that positively reeked of "near enough," received answers to questions that I'm sure weren't anywhere near the best the customer service agent could do, and suffered from trying to help organizations whose executives grabbed the first, roughly workable solution, and weren't interested in anything better. I'll bet you have seen all of these things too.

Taking enough time isn't only about being "laid back" or even having a better life (though both sound great to me). It's mostly about getting a good result instead of one that barely makes a passing grade.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with you on this point. I'm a person who "designs" some software so to say.
In most cases I have some senior person who decides how the system should behave in some situation. They often (not always) choose inadequate solution because:
1) it is simple
2) it has always been done this way before
3) they misunderstood the problem
Poor users...

Pauly

4:55 AM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Thanks for a great comment, Pauly.

6:54 AM  

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