The Good Idea Cutoff Time…..

This is one of those posts that applies across a number of sectors, although in this particular case, it has to do with a project that I am working on. There are many sayings in the military that carry over into civilian life or are also used in standard civilian management teaching. Two of them are, “Setting a good idea cut-off time,” and the related concept of, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”  As anyone who has ever planned an event or put together a project knows, the closer you get to a deadline, introducing new ideas can cause everything from minor irritation to outright chaos. Yes, something can come up at the last minute, and yes, sometimes a really good idea did get overlooked, but at some point, in order to effectively plan and execute a plan (or complete a project and have time to properly edit/proof it), you have to stop adding in new ideas. I also agree that there are some forums that allow for last-minute/second changes so this rule might not apply, but in most cases, you do need to set a good idea cut-off time and be very careful about who you designate to permit additions after that. You do want someone to be able to permit additions to minimize the risk of rigidly rejecting what truly is an excellent idea when there actually is time to squeak it in.

As for the “good versus perfect” warning, that is not necessarily the same thing as, “Good enough for government work.” The core point is that while perfection is very important in certain mathematical, mechanical, scientific, and structural endeavors, many things in life can often be made better, but still be good enough at a certain stage. In this case, as I come to the end with a writing project, there is the temptation to do another revision, although in truth, the current is good and there will be future editions. Ergo, it is time to allow the good to move forward and not keep changing words, phrases, or swapping out photographs.

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