Ming the Mechanic:
Incrementalists vs. Completionists

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Incrementalists vs. Completionists2007-07-05 23:50
34 comments
by Flemming Funch

Matt Mower:
Joel Spolksy has a good article on management books in which he quotes Michael Lopp:

The disagreement reminded me there are two distinct personalities when it comes to devising solutions to problems: Incrementalists and Completionists.

Incrementalists are realists. They have a pretty good idea of what is achievable given a problem to solve, a product to ship. They're intimately aware of how many resources are available, where the political landscape is at any given moment, and they know who knows what. They tend to know all the secrets and they like to be recognized for that fact.

Completionists are dreamers. They have a very good idea of how to solve a given problem and that answer is SOLVE IT RIGHT. Their mantra is, "If you're going to spend the time to solve a problem, solve it in a manner that you aren't going to be solving it AGAIN in three months."
Hm, I guess that in that setting, I'd be a Competionist Completionist too. I'd often be a bit envious at people who are very pragmatic and who do things that work, from what is available, that can get out the door quickly, that end up succeeding, despite not being perfect. I'll tend towards trying to make the perfect thing, and then not getting around to getting it out the door.

Oh, I'm probably doing incremental stuff in some areas, but it is in the business context where I'm envious. To succeed in business, you need to produce something that is useful to somebody, which they'll pay for. Doesn't really matter if it is the ultimate way of solving a problem. It just has to be an acceptable and attractive way of doing it, which works for the target audience.


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34 comments

6 Jul 2007 @ 08:20 by christianhauck @160.62.4.10 : Freudian error or purposeful typo?
us creative people are often slightly dyslexic. Yet I wonder if your confession of envy also made you call yourself a "Competitionist"?
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6 Jul 2007 @ 21:55 by ming : Competitionist
Ha, that's a funny slip. I suppose I just forgot an "L". Or maybe it reveals my hidden competitive side.  


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