I once met with a rather thoughtful Project Manager to catch up on
things. An interesting person to talk to – it’s the cadence and style of
his chat, he's a fairly laid-back guy. I asked where his
comes from - he shows no visible signs of any, and it made me
. We ended up talking about golf, IT Projects, and the “Search for
Perfection” in our work.
So, what is “perfection” in the IT world? Is it being able to predict
what will come true, and then everything hits as you foretold? Or does
it appear when the programming / configuration / cabling is done, and
everything does exactly what it was supposed to do?
Consider time-boxed (or agile) projects versus the traditional waterfall
style. Is “perfect” acheived by hitting the date (but not getting all
the requirements), or should we value delivery of all of the
requirements (but not in the originally estimated time)?
Back in the day, we would work to write code that compiled “perfectly” -
no severity level 20’s or 10’s, as we used to say in
What about fault tolerance, scalability, or quality of testing? These
"requirements" deliver business value when [bad] things fail to happen
(some tao to jones on). Note that these also become
bargaining chips when time is tight
… ephemera less valuable than squeezing in one last combo box.
Obviously there's no right answer, but my calm PM friend and I feel that
one’s definition of “perfect” says a lot about whether or not you
experience stress at work; this is when the conversation switched to
Why do we both like
? Neither of us are competitive by nature; it’s more of a way to search
for perfection (or burn an afternoon, or get some bidness done). And the
interesting part is, it could be this never-ending search …
Where do you go when you can par your favorite course – for a lower
score, or the next course to the left?
According to the zen PM, “if I’m a 15 handicapper, I could get down to
20 handicapper with more practice” [ok, he clearly plays more than I
do], which led me to ask what exactly is a “perfect score” – is it par
golf? zenPM suggested that a perfect score would be birdie every hole; I
thought perfection could be when you hit every fairway and green in
regulation, and you're down in two.
So is perfection “peak performance” [on time], “consistency and
predictability” [on budget], or “strictly following the rules” [no
Then we had to get to our next meeting … back to the stress …