It’s a system

Hi you.

Last week Seth Godin (again) wrote a really well-articulated piece on his blog. I am trying not to quote the whole thing, but it is just so applicable to what I write about and value so highly.
Please see this excerpt:

It seems as though the opposite of “careless” ought to be “careful.” That the best way to avoid avoidable errors is to try harder, to put more care into the work.
This means that if surgeons were more careful, there would be fewer errors. And that so many of the mistakes that mess things up would go away if people just tried harder.

And this is true. For a while. But then, it’s not effort but systems that matter.
We need to put care into our systems. We need to build checklists and peer review and resilience into the way we express our carefulness. It seems ridiculous that a surgeon needs to write her name (with a Sharpie) on the limb that she’s about to operate on, but this simple system adjustment means that errors involving working on the wrong limb will go to zero.

In school, we harangue kids to be more careful, and spend approximately zero time teaching them to build better systems instead. We ignore checklists and processes because we’ve been taught that they’re beneath us.

Instead of reacting to an error with, “I need to be more careful,” we can respond with, “I can build a better system.”

If it matters enough to be careful, it matters enough to build a system around it.

In the end, it’s what I tell everyone who listens:
You need to have repeatable steps in your development workflow. Have a system in place that is followed by everyone all the time. And a checklist for qualifying your work.

It might seem dull and it might increase costs (on first look—but never on second, third or further looks), it might make coworkers groan in anger about "more work". But studies and real-world results show how much better you’re off in the end.

Trust the system.

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