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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Doing Things Right Or Doing The Right Thing?

I was working with an organization and ran into a strange situation. The head of their skunk works was a hero for doing things right. He was an inspiration for having his team working effectively, following the right order of build, making lists, all the stuff I treasure.

The problem was nothing was coming out of his group. They were working hard, getting sweaty and loud, and were an increasing expense.

Finally, he left, being unable to “get the support of management (the fools).”

The Druid who replaced him was less formal, less rigid, and told good jokes. He looked at the two page list of projects, and abandoned most of them. A few were folded into other efforts.

In two weeks his team was shipping finished prototypes. Turns out they weren’t finished, because by supplying something that worked, we could see what else was needed.

And those improvements were incorporated in less than a month. We were shipping new products!

Trying to define the difference, I realized we had gone from doing things right (a necessary and good policy), to doing the right thing, which was cheaper, more valuable, and easier on the workers.

When you are generating more heat than light, are you doing things right or doing the right thing?

Here is more About Work.

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