Today’s post is a super-special response from devoted reader, [and wicked-smarty-pants] Jen Vertanen, to the post I wrote last week posing the question: What if ‘good enough’ is just not Good Enough? Jen emailed me after it went live, expressing that the post felt like it was missing some perspective. So, I asked her to lay it out for me – and you – in post-form.
And she’s got some killer points.
Here’s what Jen has to say…
Begging for Illana’s Ass Kickings
Like you, I leap for joy when Makeness Media publishes a new blog post. It’s like the world stops, just for a moment, as I get my bearings, take a deep breath, and then dive right in.
I’ve come to love and anticipated the ass kickings delivered in each post. It’s as if Illana is in my head pulling out the exact “thing” (for lack of a better term) that’s currently tripping me up in business + life. I nod along, utter a few “Fuck yeahs” under my breath, cry a little bit inside because I know she’s right, pull up my big girl panties (I’m serious – they’re b – i – g), and make a list of three things I’m going to do right this very goddamn minute to tackle my “thing” head on.
You too? Cool. I like you and we should be friends.
But Then I was Torn.
So when I read last week’s post (you know – the one where Illana told us she was going to poke our tender bits with the end of a pointy stick and then proceeded to do just that??) the business owner side of me was yelling ‘FUCK YEAH!’” while the Agile Coach (me – who just so happens to also suffer from clinical depression and is still trying to get over her perfectionist tendencies) wasn’t quite so sold.
I wholeheartedly agree that nothing should be half-assed but I wholeheartedly disagree that good enough can’t be… good enough.
You see, companies pay me lots of money to continually ask, “When is good enough, good enough?”. Why? Because companies really don’t know what consumers want or need until it’s actually in their hands. Human nature tells us we want and should have all the bells and whistles but WHICH BELLS AND WHISTLES?
Simply put, if the bells and whistles aren’t going to make or break a product, it’s not the best use of the company’s time, money, and resources. So in this case – moving forward without the bells and whistles can in fact, be good enough.
You don’t truly know what the consumer wants until you experiment, gather feedback, refine your experiment, and then do it all over again.
I don’t know about you but I’m pretty happy when Apple considers a new Iphone version good enough because I like getting my little mitts on the latest and greatest in gadgetry. Can it’s flaws be annoying? Um – yeah but the other new and improved stuff that works is a HELL YEAH!
MVP. Or as I Like To Call It, MDP.
In the Agile/Lean world there’s this little thing called MVP or Minimum Viable Product.
MVP :: What is the least amount of functionality we can deliver that will get this product into the hands of the consumer the fastest so we can learn if this is truly what they want or need.
In other words, when is good enough, good enough?
If the product doesn’t pan out we haven’t invested that much time, money, and effort but if it is something the customers want we can now gather data on it and make it even better the next go around.
This is exactly how products like IPhones and The Facebooks continually evolve and become better, and then sometimes worse, and then better again. Because the companies are continually delivering their version of MVP (or good enough), gathering and incorporating feedback and doing it all over again.
(Depending on the client I sometimes call it MDP or Minimum Delightful Product – either way – you get the gist).
Now – MVP (or MDP or good enough for the purpose of this article) is going to vary product by product. The MVP of a pacemaker is going to look much different than… say, an app to find the nearest lake by you. Both are helpful but one actually saves lives. (And yes – Medtronic uses Agile methodologies to innovate their pacemakers.)
In either case, what’s delivered is still the Minimum Viable Product — the product that while not perfect, is still considered good enough.
Other Times When Good Enough Is Good Enough.
Say you’re like me and suffer from bouts of depression and are currently in the throes of an episode. Just getting out of bed that day can be considered good enough. Showering, brushing your teeth, and getting yourself to work and somewhat function? Now you’re just overachieving. But it’s still good enough.
Say you haven’t moved your body in months (we’re still on me here) and beat yourself up daily. Doing 60-minutes of yoga would be ideal but perhaps taking a walk around the block one day is good enough.
Say you haven’t blogged since last month (yup – still on me) and you feel a titch guilty but it honestly hasn’t been your priority because of other life shit going on (like your son needing a scary surgery) — getting a new post out there when you can is good enough.
Because at that exact moment, in all of the scenarios above and in so many more to come, good enough is better than nothing at all and that’s pretty fucking amazing. (Can I get an AMEN?!)
Sometimes Good Enough Really Is… Good Enough.
Be a good human being. Act with integrity. Help old ladies (and gents) cross the street. Define your version of success and then go for it with as much gusto and pizazz as you can muster. Don’t put shit out into the world.
We all have our bags in life to carry. Analyze your bags (or MVPs) and ask yourself for each… What is my definition of good enough?
And then go do that.
Like the red wine she loves, Jen Vertanen is multi-layered and complex and prides herself on being paid to be a Professional Bossypants. Part loving mentor + part kick-you-in-the-ass motivator Jen spends her days teaching business leaders and teams a better way to plan for and get the work done (with a huge emphasis on fun). Jen writes about how not to be a dick of a leader and what it means to be part of a good team over at JenVertanen.com.
Please note: I have turned off comments on the blog because I have found that we have far more lively conversation inside the Makeness Insider Community on Facebook. If you would like to join us there, consider this your cordial invitation – Oh… and Jen’s there too… so, you know… come say hi.