Quick, Good, or Cheap – Pick 2

26 03 2015

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ~Abraham Lincoln

Today’s quote speaks to time management and planning.  “Get it done quick” and “Get it right” are 2 directives from leaders that are often at odds with each other.  In the IT world, buyers are often told that they can have it quick, good, or cheap – pick 2.  If you want something done quick and good, it’s going to cost money (i.e. additional programmers all working on the same project).  If you want it good and cheap, it’s going to take time (i.e. one programmer working on the project exclusively.  If you want it quick and cheap, it’s going to be thrown together, and not good at all.

When given a task, leaders need to not only understand the specific project, but the “view from 10,000 feet”.  Do you have the time to do the job good and cheap?  Is time an issue, so you just need any old solution quickly?  If this is the case, hopefully you build in time afterwards to improve the project.  Phase 1 gets it done “quick and dirty” (with work-arounds, manual reporting, etc.), and Phase 2 rolls in behind it cleaning it up, and automating the manual stuff.  When quality is non-negotiable, then you have to choose to spend a lot of money, or to wait for the final product.  There are valid business reasons for each approach.  If you’re not sure, then please ask before getting started.

Speaking of the first…


Rubes cartoons used with permission. www.rubescartoons.com




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