If you're reading this, you probably know I run a small software development agency. What you might not know, that my team does, is that I'm a git.
We've adopted a phrase at Moov2 that I get cited for on a fairly regular basis. A "swoop n poop" basically, means swooping in after a team member has exerted some substantial effort in producing something and then immediately pointing out the flaws and problems with it. It's a common reaction by anyone because we tend not to notice the things that are right or work well but are jarred by what falls outside of our expectations.
It's a horrible, belittling approach to management and is something I'm consciously trying to address. A better approach is to first acknowledge the effort and recognise the positives of the work done. Thanking and congratulating someone for their efforts... and then crushing all their hopes and dreams by highlighting the flaws you notice. The critical feedback aspect is still very important and I will continue to be a git by offering it. I'm sure at times, it's felt that I pick up on things that might seem insignificant or not important. Nit-picking for the sake of it, costing more time and effort than necessary.
If it works, it fulfils the requirement, it does what we said it would do, why make life more difficult than it needs to be? Surely I'd rather the project was delivered sooner and at less expense than investing more time on such minor things? Well, no. Because the small details matter. A lot. This is something experience has taught me time and time again.
Wow, that's amazing! I'm so impressed, I love what the Moov2 team have done with this, they really know their stuff!
Is the reaction I want people to have to our work. Delivering "on time and within budget" is okay, but delivering something that surprises and delights, is just way, way more satisfying.
Hmm okay, I guess it does technically work.
Doesn't quite give you the same buzz or sense of pride in your work.
Assuming you wouldn't deliver a project that straight up doesn't work, it's the small details that can make the difference between those two responses. I'm not advocating doing extra work for free, but that any work that is delivered should be as good as it can possibly be.
I often see new businesses and young teams asking "is this good enough?" when really, "can this be any better?" is the question that should be being asked. Of course, things are always relative to time and budgets available, but if you strive for better, your work will improve and in time so will budgets, the calibre of clients, quality of projects and so on. A valuable skill to learn is the ability to be critical of your own work. We tend to feel proud and protective over work we've just completed but if you can review it subjectively and compare it to what you consider to be "best of breed" you'll open yourself to a much higher standard. We've all looked back at work we did some time ago and cringed, so task yourself with pleasing future you now.
So the next time your boss is on your back with seemingly pointless requests, consider maybe they're pushing you to improve. If your boss is only ever interested in work being done ASAP regardless of quality, well, maybe send me your CV. In the meantime, I'll work on better acknowledging the endless amounts of amazing work my team does so you know you will be well appreciated.