Monday, November 24, 2008

Consistency versus Excellence

A quick question for you all, if you are delivering every single project consistently, with good consistent results, have you achieved excellence?

At one point in time I might have said yes, but after reading this article I will have to say no. Unless you are in a field where everyone else are a bunch of numskulls, being consistent merely means meeting your customers expectations.

Of course being consistent is good, it means you are delivering your product or service in the same manner, allowing you to look for ways to reduce errors and flaws by providing new and improved processes to catch and eliminate them. That being said however, you put too many processes in place your team will look and act like a bunch of dumb robots, carefully following well defined procedures fearing to stray outside of the bounds. Hardly sounds like a fun place to work eh?

Excellence on the other hand is about going above and beyond, about not just achieving customer expectations but blowing them away. This type of performance requires passionate and driven people, people that will own the product and be devoted to its success. When pursuing excellence processes are only a tool to achieve a goal, they are not the goal themselves. Processes will never be emotionally tied to the product's success, only people are.

People drive excellence, processes drive consistency. If you are looking for excellence then don't look to process, look for passionate, driven people to push hard to always try and achieve more.

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