Monday, 19 March 2018

Achieving more by doing less

In The Secret to Success: Do Less, Then Obsess Morten Hansen interviews Eric Ries on the subject of doing less instead using a narrow focus to succeed.
Morten: Yes, I set out to get at the question, “Why are some managers and employees performing far better than others?” Of course, talent plays a role, education plays a role, how hard they work plays a role. But I studied 5,000 people to find out what really makes a difference, and one key factor is that those who really excel are incredibly good at applying intense focus. They choose a few activities, they say no to others, and then they obsess over those activities. I call it the “Do less, then obsess” principle.
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Eric: Absolutely. We have a concept in the Lean Startup movement called “minimum viable product,” or MVP. And the idea is, we want to do the least amount of work necessary to start learning from customers, and we descope as much as we can to get that simple initial thing in the market. Many famous companies began with a very humble initial product, and only added features and became more complicated later.
I enjoyed this bit because I think most reports are a complete waste of time. Either no-one reads them, or those that do are probably wasting their own time as well as the authors. This is comment is by Morten:
One of the things I discovered in my research is how you need to innovate your own work. I did an academic study in a large company, and I traveled to their Colorado site to meet with this project manager. He was very busy, and he was waving me off—“I’m very busy, can’t talk to you today. Come back tomorrow.” I said, “What are you working on?” [He said,] “I have to finish this quarterly report to headquarters, which is due tonight,” and he told me what the report was about.
What he did not know, which I knew since I was coming from headquarters, was that nobody read that report anymore. It was an outdated report. He finished the report, and he met his objective for his job, but he produced zero value because nobody read the report.

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