commitment, to the problem you want to solve & the life you want to lead
Lunch on Friday in the Financial District. We were sitting in a gorgeous courtyard, full of marble and light and San Francisco sun. I asked Charlie if he ever gets sidelined by the perception from inside a company that consultants come in uninformed about and uninvested in a company’s goals and culture, suggest swooping changes and then leave the actual implementation - the hard part - to someone else.
Sure, he said. But that’s what happens only when the tasks haven’t been well-developed. When a company hires a consultant without knowing what problem they’re trying to solve.
This isn’t so different from product development. I get frustrated with how often requirements change. Of course, time changes things. Patients change. Procedures change. Technology changes. But what can’t change is our commitment to the problem that we were originally trying to solve. That’s the easiest way to kill a good product idea before it hits the market.
You can’t design to a moving target.
Don’t get me wrong. You can design to accommodate change. You can design with a vision of how that design can change. What can replace it. Apple’s the classic example of companies that develop products with multigenerational product strategies. But the point is, commit to something. A set of requirements that may not last forever, but that last for right now and give you something to work towards.
Commitment is a whole separate topic. It takes courage. We’re so afraid of it. We’re afraid of what might happen if we commit to one thing and miss out on ten others. This is true in product development. This is true in life.
I was reading Unclutterer yesterday when I came across this post. Erin’s post is like Covey’s second habit: begin with the end in mind. I think the hardest part of being young is realizing that it’s ok to change your mind as you get more information. That the ideal life right now doesn’t have to be the ideal life forever, that your life has its own multigenerational design strategy. What shouldn’t change is your commitment to live according to the things that you value.