Perfection vs. Optimization

As an engineer, I understand that perfection is an unattainable goal.  It’s infinity.  It is the asymptote.  You iterate and get incrementally closer to perfection but will never reach it.  The closer you get to “perfection,” the more difficult it is to optimize and the smaller the improvements.

And that’s okay.

Those incremental improvements can be instrumental in creating big wins in efficiency and product as the optimizations trickle through the entire process.

I believe this to be equally true for a process within your business as for a large scale petrochemical plant.

So, what do I propose we do?

At a high level

We define our ideal.  Then we define all the inputs and all of the variables touching or effecting the inputs as we move towards the finished product.  Then we tweak the variables. Does the finished product become better, worse, or not change at all?

My father-in-law would say “make sure to change two variables at a time so that you never know what’s causing the change.”  🙂  So, maybe just change one thing at a time and document how things change.

For our service based business

Desired outcome is a happy client.

I believe the input is the service we are hired for.

The variables affecting the service are (in no significant order):

  • the goals of the client,
  • the knowledge needed to evaluate the realisticness to accomplish those goals,
  • communication with client about their goals,
  • the procedure used to get the work done in a timely and efficient manner,
  • the knowledge needed to accomplish the goals of the client,
  • the procedure in place to communicate the status and procedure, and
  • the procedure surrounding the delivery of the results

At least, that is what we are starting with.  As we delve further into this process, the variables may adjust. Also, clearly, some of these variables have variables WITHIN them that we will be tweaking.


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