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Perfectionism

Great article Joel.  Perfectionism just gets in the way.  It was my greatest weakness.  (Although saying that an interview without written permission from a psychiatrist would be folly.) 

I've done a couple things to overcome it.  Namely, I made several signs and post it notes that I stuck to my computer/walls so now I see "It doesn't have to be perfect.", "Perfect is a waste of time." and "You don't have to be perfect." etc etc...  Finally got it through my head to just do what had to be done to the best of my ability and forget about obsessing over stupid things. 

Heck I even carried this over into other things like mowing the lawn.  Used to have to be perfect.  No dandelions, no blade of grass taller or shorter than the next etc..  Now I just mow the darn lawn and forget about it.  Not that I do a bad job, it's just that I'm not obsessed about it anymore.  I have better things to do with my time.

A madman laughing at the rain.
Friday, April 23, 2004

Huh? What? Damn, I was almost sure Joel was secretly indicating he was a fan of The Apprentice. I mean... it all fits together, perfectionism, tv shows about work....

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, April 23, 2004

Wow. I'd respond to that post if I had any clue what it was about. Heck I'll respond to it anyway.

Did I mention it's 5:00 on Friday?

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, April 23, 2004

I don't get what the big deal is. With software, if someone finds a bug, you put it in the database and assign it a priority. You fix from highest priority to lowest priority, and the lowest priority ones (like "lower half of 'g' doesn't link") may sit around for a couple years until they get fixed, if ever. So what?

Ron
Friday, April 23, 2004

Ron -- So I guess you aren't one of the people that "perfectionism" poses any problems for. 

Some people tend to fixate or obsess on a single thing, often a not-very-important thing, and can't let go until it's done perfectly.  You don't have that problem, so maybe it seems a bit strange to you.  But there are a lot of people out there who are plagued with this tendency to greater or lesser degrees, so in any case it's good for you to know that such a thing exists. 

Herbert Sitz
Friday, April 23, 2004

As the two minute thread points out some bugs take longer to put into the database than they would to fix.

It appears Joel consciously decided not to fix that one because the fix would have its own problems.

The point about little bugs was given in one of the books Joel recommends "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", where the author comments how he can't understand his non-technical friends who are prepared to live for years with the small but cumulative annoyance of a leaking faucet rather than just fixiing it.

Stephen Jones
Friday, April 23, 2004

The perfectionism article brought one of my favorite sayings to mind (and not in a good way): Don't let the best be the enemy of the good.

To put it another way, it's possible to pay attention to details without going to obsessive-compulsive levels. Just because you can't be perfect about something doesn't mean you shouldn't be as good as you can be.

Martha
Friday, April 23, 2004

In case nobody has pointed it out already, perfectionists are actually people that avoid doing anything because they're afraid of the results not being perfect.


Friday, April 23, 2004

Its a bit much when so much gets posted cause the bottom part of the "g" doesn't click. There is perfection and then their is just being picky. How many people have ever actually clicked on that as a link?

Fothy
Friday, April 23, 2004

> In case nobody has pointed it out already,
> perfectionists are actually people that avoid doing
> anything because they're afraid of the results
> not being perfect.

True, true,count one more here. The perfectionism is also a main ingredient  of procrastination, which leads to depression.

So I take an antidepressive every morning and a nice sleep-pill when I go to bed.

In the mean time I am stuck in designing my dream CMS (analysis paralisys).  Lucky, I have this Interaction Design gig that pays the bills so I am not on the street yet.

So if any of you are suffering of perfectionism, prepare for the depression storm and check-in with a psychiatrist to help you- as Joel told to that chap.

Stilnox - The Interaction Designer from Bucharest
Friday, April 23, 2004

Perfectionism also creates a highly-polished app that customers do notice...

Rick
Friday, April 23, 2004

My favorite technology leadership quote comes from Patton.

"A good plan executed today always beats a perfect plan tomorrow"

Perhaps I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist of it.

dir at badblue com
Friday, April 23, 2004

>>Perfectionism also creates a highly-polished app that customers do notice... <<

People don't usually notice things that are correct - they tend to notice things that are incorrect or don't behave as they would expect.

Fothy
Saturday, April 24, 2004

>>Perfectionism also creates a highly-polished app that customers do notice... <<

But remember that even "highly-polished app" is never
perfect. There's always something you can improve. So,
stop wasting time here and go back to work ;)

Seriouslly, highly-polished apps are not that hard to
create. You just have to eat some of your dogfood, and if
lots of users really hate a feature just change it. If I was
Steve Jobs I would  have killed that silly Dock long time ago.
But I'm not.

>> People don't usually notice things that are correct - they tend to notice things that are incorrect or don't behave as they would expect.

Mac users are perfect (uh!?) example for that. They can't
articulate why they like Mac, but most of them would refuse
to use anything else.

It really pays off to make an app feel better and it's usually
little details that create such feeling. I think I've learnt from
Mac that it is just good enough if you can give users feel
of control and security. Usually all it takes is to affirm 99%
of users that they are not too stupid to use your app. And
after a while, they'll learn how to use it better and smarter.

Isn't that a whole concept of Visual Basic? And reason for
it's success?

Some programmers could contemplate indents for several
minutes. Perfectionism? But after adding so many /* --- */s
and //====s to their source, they hate to check for error
codes or think that compiler warnings are not that bad.

God, people are so different.

VPC
Saturday, April 24, 2004

"The perfectionism is also a main ingredient  of procrastination, which leads to depression."

Wow, that strikes frighteningly close to home for me.

Aaron F Stanton
Sunday, April 25, 2004

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