Slow is smooth; Smooth is fast

Part of my current job is to guide various internal customers in my organization and help them achieve complete end-to-end automation of their product from inception to release to market. Goes without saying this requires deep understanding of their use cases, custom designing their processes and figuring out how to fit multiple tools in larger landscape of the Automation ecosystem.

Of course all this requires time. If we rush into this, there's a 100% chance it will fail and we will have to keep coming back to it again and again. Which essentially means slowing things down in the long run.

In larger scheme of things, I explain my clients that if we front-load our time focussing and getting our design right, we can execute real quick. But if we rush into this, we will end up with a bad design and may never complete the project and get to its logical end.

Some like what I tell, some don't. But a part of my job is to set the right expectations with my customers.

There are certain areas of life where being slow and thoughtful actually results in quicker outcome. Just to extend my work example a bit, let's say a client wants to complete the automation project real quick. Now quick is an arbitrary time frame, so for reference let's just say 4 weeks is the time frame they have in their mind and what they have budgeted for, although everyone always wants everything to be done yesterday.

Now I have a few choices. Looking at the ecosystem and requirement of the project I can negotiate for more time upfront and front load major design work for first few weeks. I don't have to rush into implementation right away. I can spend many hours just understanding the requirements, gathering as much information I can and collect the material needed for the final push. This may seem like a slow process and not "Agile" enough, but at the end how it completes is what matters.

If the client is smart they understand that the extra investment in designing and initial "slowness" is giving them assurance of higher quality later. The focussed time spent on good design will eventually help them not keep fixing and re-fixing and re-visiting this automation work. The cost and delay if that happens will be enormous. So a healthy time spent in early phase on planning and designing will eventually pave way for faster implementation.

It's like they say - 'do it once, but do it right'.

Going slow initially will help you collect the right resources, give time to research, create the right kind of guard rails, give time to follow best practices and allow you to map, observe, orient and decide a better path.

Slow is smooth; Smooth is fast. This is the motto of US Navy Seal. And there's a reason why it has found resonance in the corporate world.

It is said that Apple, the world's biggest technology company spends close to 70% of time just designing a product and only 30% time executing, implementing and releasing it.

The time spent initially is really an investment for speeding up things later. Higher quality equates to higher speed.

I like this Abraham Lincoln's quote - "If I only had one hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe" What a brilliant quote that basically sums up what I am getting at.

Building and pacing out a time line is a strategic decision. It's like a hockey stick in shape. It starts at a point, then dips a bit and then keeps going up as it catches speed. That "dip" is crucial though and may symbolize slowness but that dip is really what is providing the strength for a strong trajectory.

Take your time, step back, consider multiple options, plan holistically and execute. The speed will come eventually after smoothness and rhythm is achieved.

The great french warrior - Napoleon famously said - "Dress me slowly, I am in a hurry"!. 

Couldn't have said it better



Comments