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:
- You’re able to achieve the same results with less time.
- You now have more time to think, dream, and ideate with your team about future initiatives.
- 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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