William Liao

May 20, 2021

The best time to build a machine

A machine is a set of mechanisms that allow for something to work effectively and efficiently. 

Every successful operation needs a good machine long-term:

A machine to ensure that you’re at the right meetings with the right people do accomplish the work you set out to do. (mechanisms: a clearly defined vision, synchronized calendars, well-defined responsibilities) 

A machine to ensure that you and your teams duties are consistently fulfilled. (mechanisms: well-structured project management tools, daily stand ups)

A machine to deliver high quality results. (mechanisms: stakeholder meetings, clearly articulated & organized notes which yield well-defined design requirements)

The predicament most early-stage efforts face is that 1) working without a machine and 2) the process of building a machine are both inconvenient. 

When you’re operating without a machine, your teams efforts are filled with redundancies & inefficiencies to achieve the results you care about. 

When you’re trying to build a machine, your team has to consciously think about what mechanisms need to be established and trained on these mechanisms (because the discipline having effective daily stand ups & a well-structured project management system do not happen over night), all while fulfilling current responsibilities. 

Once you have a machine though, you get 3 valuable outcomes: 

  1. You’re able to achieve the same results with less time. 
  2. You now have more time to think, dream, and ideate with your team about future initiatives. 
  3. Everyone is just a little bit happier :) 

The best time to build a machine for the sake of your team’s long-term success & sanity is now — even if it doesn’t feel like a good time. 

Hint: it will never feel like a good time. 

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