The Costs of Delays

Pushing a project out the door the first time feels risky. People might not like it. Something might not work. What if something goes wrong? What if no one wants it?

When these fears and concerns lead to delays, the pressure and costs begin to compound. It’s easy to consider the monetary costs, but other costs accumulate as well.

Additional costs include:

Momentum. Something beautiful happens when skilled people are able to work within their sweet spot; productivity increases over time. Overanalyzing a project kills that momentum. Once you loose it, it’s hard to get back.

Morale. People thrive on doing work that has meaning. The longer it takes to see the results, the less satisfying the work becomes. A momentary dip may happen from time to time, but it becomes painful long term.

Complexity. Things rarely get simpler over time. The longer you wait to launch, the more complex the project becomes. Sometimes the complexity is needed, but usually it’s not. Complexity is a cost that you’ll have to continue paying far into the future through having to explain it, justify it, and support it.

Time. Time is our most precious resource. We can never get it back. Wasted time has a painful way of counting twice. It involves the sacrifices of committing to ‘x’ and the opportunity cost of not having ‘y’. The sooner you launch, the faster and more thoughtfully you can begin improving. That means more time spent getting better.

Originally posted on Medium.

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