Perfection and Details 28 December, 2023

I spend time on tasks all day long. When attempting to be as complete and polished as possible on a task, it's easy to get too far into the details. The time spent on a small detail of a task can overwhelm the allotted time for the whole task and put more pressure on following days. How can you tell if too much time is being spent on a specific detail?

If you've spent enough time tuning a detail that you're pausing to ask if it is good enough, here's a question to ponder. Is the detail critical to solving the overall problem? If not, go back to the larger task. Here's an example.

I create capacity plans for engineering teams. The real task and overall problem is to understand how much work teams can take on. At one point in my process I found myself calculating holidays and adding it to the equation. Accounting for this could make capacity more accurate. This was a detail of the overall problem. The overall problem was to understand how much teams could take on. There were so many variables in the small details that the general velocity of the team was lost when compared to every other detail taken into account. Visually, you can see the difference in how much time was being spent on a detail vs the overall problem.

Focusing on certain capacity details led to spending time on this way of thinking.

While these kinds of details can be important, they are important to questions about why capacity is what it is instead of answering the overall question of what future capacity is.

This second graph speaks more to what future capacity will probably be than the previous more comprehensive calculations.

More examples of perfection and details could be in my normal workflow. How does the perfection and details issue affect your tasks?

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