One of the struggles that sometimes occurs with employees is that they try to get perfection before they take action. The difficulty is that by the time perfection is possible (if it is even really possible), the opportunity has passed or the obstacle has gotten too big to handle.
When speaking with Mark, a builder and contractor, he said that sometimes estimators struggle with the same issue. Obviously estimators need to read the specs and make sure that there are no contradictions. They may also need to make a few phone calls to clarify the plans. However, they are not creating an “exactiment”, but an estimate of the price. It may be that there needs to be an “allowance” in the estimate so it is clear that there is a cost, but that cost is only allowable to a certain point. After that certain point is reached, the cost changes. So an estimate is just that, an estimate.
Mark then reminisced to when he was at NC State for his engineering degree. One of the old geezers there was imparting advice to his class. He shared that there were scientists and engineers. Scientists had to get things perfect and exact. For example, if there was a beautiful woman across the room that was amorous and willing to have a fun time with the scientist, the scientist would begin to consider the issue of how to get over to her. The scientist would determine that you could cover half the distance to the woman in a certain amount of time. You could cover ½ of the remaining distance in a certain time, etc. However, because you only cover half the distance, you would never get to her. So, the scientist would never “go for it” and achieve the objective.
On the other hand, the engineer, being practical, would determine how long it would take to get to the woman and then take action.
The story told by the old geezer, and repeated by Mark, was told to get people to be practical as opposed to being perfect. It reinforces that doing and getting something to happen is more valuable than lots of thinking that produces no result or produce results too late.
Three things to ask yourself when facing next time a project faces delays or missed deadlines:
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