Just do it

Freshness Warning
This article is over 11 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current.

Linux World points out how Google tests new ideas (via 37signals)...

Google is one of the few large companies that gets one fundamental rule of the Internet: Trying stuff is cheaper than deciding whether to try it. (Compare the cost of paying and feeding someone to do a few weeks of P* hacking to the full cost of the meetings that went into a big company decision.)

Don’t overplan something. Just do it half-assed to start with, then throw more people at it to fix it if it works. Worked for every successful Google project from AdWords to Google Maps.

Years ago I was consulting for a large technology company. They had an intranet measuring in the billions of pages and were looking to rein it in. One part of the effort was to create and maintain a global taxonomy to make things easier to find, but to do this, they needed a tool to manage that taxonomy. I was on a team of 8 people who were tasked with picking a product that would meet the client’s needs. These were all mid to senior level people, and I’d imagine the annual salary averaged over $100k each. In addition to this full time attention, we had the part time attention of dozens of others. Two project managers were assigned to keep the project on the rails. It wasn’t uncommon to have a meeting where 15 people attended. We also had two outside consultants who were experts in taxonomy management.

To choose the product, the eight of us worked full time for a year, analyzing requirements, interviewing stakeholders in various groups, documenting all the different pieces of software the taxonomy would be used in, and generally trying to figure out which software package best met the needs of the client.

Two weeks into the process we determined that there were four software packages that had any chance of being useful. Three of these packages cost around $20k and the other cost around $70k. Early on in the project planning process, a software engineer was tasked with eventually implementing a pilot project of whatever software we picked. His estimate of the task was that it would take 4 weeks to do.

We spent well over one million dollars to decide which $20k software package to buy so one person could spend a month creating a pilot project.

Jemaleddin
December 21, 2007 1:31 PM

Sounds like a great idea to me - if the 8 of you worked for an outside contractor that was billing the time you worked on this effort to the big tech company. Otherwise... not so much.

Your comments:

Text only, no HTML. URLs will automatically be converted to links. Your email address is required, but it will not be displayed on the site.

Name:

Not your company or your SEO link. Comments without a real name will be deleted as spam.

Email: (not displayed)

If you don't feel comfortable giving me your real email address, don't expect me to feel comfortable publishing your comment.

Website (optional):

Follow me on Twitter

Best Of

  • California State Fair The California State Fair lets you buy tickets in advance from their Web site. That's good. But the site is a horror house of usability problems.
  • Best of Newly Digital There have been dozens of Newly Digital entries from all over the world. Here are some of the best.
  • How not to apply for a job Applying for a job isn't that hard, but it does take some minimal effort and common sense.
  • Newly Digital Newly Digital is an experimental writing project. I've asked 11 people to write about their early experiences with computing technology and post their essays on their weblogs. So go read, enjoy, and then contribute. This collection is open to you. Write up your own story, and then let the world know about it.
  • Lock-in is bad T-Mobile thinks they'll get new Hotspot customers with exclusive content and locked-in devices.
  • More of the best »

Recently Read

Get More

Subscribe | Archives

Recently

Encouraging 1:1s from other managers in your organization (Jan 4)
If you’re managing other managers, encourage them to hold their own 1:1s. It’s such an important tool for managing and leading that everyone needs to be holding them.
One on One Meetings - a collection of posts about 1:1s (Jan 2)
A collection of all my writing on 1:1s
Are 1:1s confidential? (Jan 2)
Is the discussion that occurs in a 1:1 confidential, even if no agreed in the meeting to keep it so?
Skip-level 1:1s are your hidden superpower (Jan 1)
Holding 1:1s with peers and with people far below you on the reporting chain will open your eyes up to what’s really going on in your business.
Do you need a 1:1 if you’re regularly communicating with your team? (Dec 28)
You’re simply not having deep meaningful conversation about the process of work in hallway conversations or in your chat apps.
What agenda items should a manager bring to a 1:1? (Dec 23)
At least 80% of a 1:1 agenda should be driven by your report, but if you also to use this time to work on things with them, then you’ll have better meetings.
Handling “I don’t have anything to talk about” in your 1:1s (Dec 21)
When someone says they have nothing to discuss, they’re almost always thinking too narrowly.
What should you talk about in a 1:1? (Dec 19)
Who sets the agenda? What should you discuss, and what should you avoid discussing?

Subscribe to this site's feed.

Contact

Adam Kalsey

Mobile: 916.600.2497

Email: adam AT kalsey.com

Twitter, etc: akalsey

Resume

PGP Key

©1999-2019 Adam Kalsey.