Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Paralysis by Perfection

Perfection is terrible issue as it kills "time to market->test->change->test again" cycle.

Problem is,
we don't know "what will work". No body knows either.

Our only hope towards progress is,
set aside perfection and embrace evolution method which will help us spot "what works now" with our customers.

Most people are scared of delivering incomplete. Why?
Mental blocker, "need to be perfect".

Fear of failure and fear of public dismay, leaves most people locked very long in their nest, busy practicing flights of the sky by just sitting there.

"Paralysis by Perfection" is what I will call it.

This is a state of "very strong internal perfection microscope and a poor visionary telescope".

There are dimensions to this Perfection Syndrome.
1) Perfection to be complete,
2) Perfection to be logically correct or faultless.

Not giving any chance to fail, stems from the "fear". The deep fear of public dismay.

"Every aspect" need to be "faultless" makes perfectionist work at every microscopic level, long enough to be lost by loosing the relevance to the time.

So if you are imperfect, be happy.
As you attempt, you know what to correct on the next attempt.

Most chances are, you the imperfect, will win by producing something available. And make lead and money  now, to eventually move towards perfection to create entry barrier to others by building competence.

It is easy to beat perfectionist as they strive hungry.

I know what you are thinking.
Remembering the "pixel perfect man" of Apple inc.

His deliveries were perfected.
The process was never to "attend perfection in first go" type, rather it was systematic, multiple proposals and competitive selection practice which still required market research and understanding customer and most importantly attempting improvements in multiple rounds.

Something to read if you still think perfection is the way!


  1. I agree... it's obvious to try & let users to try...
    as now we are not in edge where necessity is deficit ..
    we are in edge where every user has energy/money/time to taste various upcoming & accept or reject it without effecting their life path.

  2. Interesting!
    A similar term "Paralysis of analysis" is used in contexts where managers tend to postpone decision making as they want to choose the optimal/perfect solution. Instead of basing decisions on some key data points we tend to over analyse data & thus paralyze decision making. The best way forward is to go ahead & try things!

    1. “Paralysis by Analysis” is a tendency where decision maker must mentally seek for higher degree of clarity to compensate for his higher risk sensitivity, which can take very long time to evaluate, rendering him indecisive during this period, causing high costs and loss of opportunity.

      As matter of fact, decision making is act of dealing with risk with choice making.
      If there is no risk with the choices, then decision making is not needed.

      Analysis is utilized to bring more clarity to the situation.
      More clarity brings more predictability which reduces risk and associated losses.

      As a repeatable act, yet more analysis is felt to bring yet more clarity to the situation, hence supposed to reduce risk further.

      Sometimes more analysis uncovers more unknown factors for the decision maker and confuses him, and now he has to strive for more clarity further, through analysis.

      In “Paralysis by Perfection”, there is no much decision making load.
      The craftsman just mentally cannot deliver imperfect or incomplete things.

      Both tendencies cause loss of time and eventually cost loss of opportunity.

      There are many more common blocking tendencies, like accumulation tendency, glorification tendency, ...

      All such tendencies make a poor leadership material.

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  4. Risk always associated with decision making..People do analysis to get 100% success rate for avoiding risk..which is not possible..If by doing analysis 100% risk is avoidable than i think RISK word should get discarded from HUMAN BRAIN...RISK + DECISION(Correct Time + Analysis) = SUCCESS

  5. Loved this one....

    "As matter of fact, decision making is act of dealing with risk with choice making.
    If there is no risk with the choices, then decision making is not needed."