Collect Options 🍭

Feb 04, 2022 3:01 pm

Happy Friday,

Well, a few days ago I got hit with the snowstorm that I'm sure has affected many of you. So I'm writing from a drafty room by a window at my in-laws farm. Yesterday we went sledding the way folks out here do, which is taking a sawed in half rain barrel, hitching it to a truck, and dragging it through the snow.

The kids love it. I'll also admit its pretty fun too.

Anyway, today I was thinking through several things as my coffee woke me up, and that led to the subject of this email.

The power of options.

Consider how many of us think about making money. We get a job, and money grows in our investment account for retirement. This is for many, the default. But in terms of considering options, what other options are there for income? Is there some hobby or skill you have that would bring in a little extra?

This isn't meant to be an email about income, but I'm getting there.

At most engineering groups, options are something people struggle with. The typical lifecycle of an option is that a person comes up with an idea, it gets shared with the group, who then points out all the conceptual problems in it as they search for the ideal choice.

To be more specific, your idea is full of problems, but their idea is perfect.

This position that groups tend to take is far from ideal, as it stalls groups out from any progress as they take uneven positions on the options they have.

Consider a different directive as a group: Find more than one legitimate option.

What do I mean by legitimate? That means that even if they have flaws they will ultimately work. Knowing the flaws simply informs you of the work and effort needed to get that option to work. It shifts the conversation from, "No, because..." to "So we'll need to..."

In my experience, most of the ideas groups come up with are legitimate options, but they do have trade offs. Imagine the hours of debate in a meeting saved by evaluating that an option is legitimate or not and moving on.