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Faster or Sooner?

At first it looks like a contradiction - doesn’t faster mean sooner too?

Not necessarily.

Consider the following 2 situations:

1. Faster

Company needs 3 widgets. They work on all 3 widgets at the same time.

All 3 widgets are completed in 3 weeks.

2. Sooner

Company needs 3 widgets. They determine priorities for the widgets, and work on them one at a time.

They each take a week and a day or two to complete. All 3 widgets are completed in 4 weeks.

So, what’s the difference?

The company that chooses faster is a week ahead in terms of development.

The company that chooses sooner is able to take advantage of the investment 2 weeks earlier than the other.

The way to achieve each is almost completely opposite of each other:

  1. Many efforts vs Single effort
  2. Quantity over time vs Quality over time
  3. Division vs Unity
  4. Efficiency vs Innovation
  5. Cost vs Value

Now, you might be still leaning towards faster rather than sooner. And that’s okay. One final thought on it though:

Divide and Conquer

We typically misuse this phrase. We say it as we divide the team and focus on different aspects of a problem - the problem divides us. The Romans (the originators of the concept), by contrast, divided the problem and conquered each division as a united force.

Splitting your team, your time, your energy, your resources to tackle a bunch of problems at the same time is more efficient; without a doubt it’s faster. But, it leaves you vulnerable. Splitting the problem and tackling the divisions one at a time allows you to focus on the critical areas first and enables a more fortified position.

And that’s why in a choice of faster or sooner, I personally aim for sooner.


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