Fashion. Mobile Devices. Software. Everything is moving faster and faster. Maybe LOLCats need to move faster because their expected lifespan is one sixth of ours. But we don’t. We’re moving so fast that we’re bringing back infinite scroll and software mystery meat. We’re building mobile devices so thin that they bend, sewing new clothes after they are already out of fashion, and re-launching movies from the 80s because no one has time to even think of an original idea (so forget about taking one to completion).
There’s a place for speed — and it’s on the racetrack. And while first to market is nice, in the long run, it’s usually best to market that wins. The same goes for organizational technology. It’s not about being the first to have the shiny new toy, it’s about identifying and implementing the right technology the first time. A shiny new toy always looks good, but what good is a toy that sits on the shelf? And that’s exactly what happens when you buy a piece of software that looks good but doesn’t support organizational processes and do what needs to be done.
Slowing down isn’t just for buddhists and chess masters, it’s for anyone who wants to get ahead in business and Supply Management. While it’s important to be efficient and effective when doing non-value added tactical tasks, when it comes to important, strategic, activities that, if done right, can generate an ROI that is effectively multiples of the resources invested in the activity (but, if done wrong, can cost the company millions), speed is not of the essence. Getting it right is. If it takes an extra hour, an extra day, an extra week, or even an extra month to get it right, sometimes that’s the right thing to do.
And in each of the examples given above, the extra time would make a big difference. With enough time, developers would be able to research, understand, and build software that did what people want the way they wanted the software to do it — there’d be no mystery meat. And while the mobile iPhone version of your site might need to be infinite scroll because, let’s face it, you can’t click a button the size of a flea on a 4″ screen, no one wants that garbage on a regular 13″ laptop screen and they definitely don’t want it on a 27″ desktop monitor! You could take the time to research exactly how thin and light you could make a phone that was still resilient enough for everyday use and you could design practical, fashionable clothes that people actually wanted to wear, and not just wear the day a model walks them down the runway.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to go as fast as you can, but going fast just for the sake of going fast doesn’t help anyone. It just makes your organization look stupid. So slow down once in a while, figure out where you are, figure out where you want to be, and work out a detailed plan to get there. The results might surprise you.
And now, to (software) developers everywhere who bring us infinite scroll and mystery meat on a regular basis, LOLCat has a special message just for you!