Go Hard Early

By Michael Honey07 Apr 2013

You have a nice big project you’re about to get started on. Delivery is in a few months, so you have time to plan, sketch out some initial ideas, to let it germinate in your head.


No. Start now.

Here’s the problem. For any non-trivial project, there are problems to be solved, ideas to be thought through, discoveries to be made. You want to encounter those challenges early on, so you have time to reassess, to change course. That last 20% of the project, the part that actually takes half of the total time? You want to get to that earlier, not later.

There’s an analogy to gamma correction:

Yes, this is actually the Curves tool in Pixelmator

Linear progress is 1.0 gamma. 20% of the way through the timeline, you’re 20% complete, and so it goes until completion. Never happens.

2.2 gamma is having a too-slow progress ramp. 80% project completion comes with only 10% of the timeline left. Are you really going to get that last 20% done – and remember, this is the hard 20% – twice as fast as you’ve been able to work so far? You’re kidding yourself.

0.5 gamma is what you want. Start fast, make mistakes early, give yourself time to reconsider, optimise, polish. Get to 80% completion with half the time left, and come in to land smoothly.

You’re not a teenager leaving your homework until the last minute. Professionals go hard early.

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