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If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, how will you find time for the rework?

Early in my career a manager of mine used to ask me this often and I never liked the question, never. It was asked of me so often I started asking it of myself. More importantly, I began to realize two things; he was a good manager and there weren’t good answers. Carrying it forward I began to ask the question of my son as he grew into adulthood and he never liked it either, never. The consequences from the pursuit of immediate gratification and expediency are paid in rework, who wants to face that now?

Professionally, when it comes to advisory and delivery consulting services, experience tells me prospective clients and customers looking to modernize and transform often don’t like this question either and they aren’t asking it of themselves often enough. It’s as if they have forgotten the tortoise actually beat the hare.

In 2024 engagements, cognitive load has been a constraint in every client facing dialog and I’ve even heard 100% load is the biggest problem rather than money. Teams are talented but stretched, they don’t have time to think in depth, leadership doesn’t either and there’s no time for rework. Time to market pressures and more have people looking for shortcuts to keep pace. Rework is low value activity and I wonder how much it’s created by habitual short term thinking as C-Level tenures are shrinking.

Repeatedly, I see Plan-Build-Run approaches with gaps in the “P” cascading into Build & Run misses. Also, orgs are using PBR frameworks where DevOps orientation is better suited or should be used in combination and the strategic plan didn’t address the misalignment. For example, software development is iterative and the “right way” continuously evolves, there’s no finish line. I still see software managed like a project and a cost center rather than a value stream.

Could companies actually go faster by slowing down? Sometimes, yes, but there’s another way to run the race. What if the best of the tortoise and the hare could be combined?

The race is not always to the swift but speed has its rewards. Additional capacity for cognitive load is a 1+1 = 3 or more equation and it’s available in market. When transforming, you can solve tomorrow’s unseen problems today or spend time on yesterday’s problems at least twice.