People often say “Let’s fix this for now”
This phrase is often used when someone wants to solve a problem temporarily, without addressing the root cause or finding a permanent solution. Sometimes, (1) it is the pressure to meet a deadline or a budget constraint, and they cannot afford to spend more time on the problem. Or, (2) they are unsure of how to solve the problem effectively and need more information or expertise before proceeding. Or, (3) they are afraid of making a mistake or facing criticism if they try to solve the problem in a different way. Or, (4) they are satisfied with the current situation and do not see the need to change it. Or, (5) they are lazy or indifferent and do not care about the quality of their work or the consequences of their actions.
“Let’s fix this for now” can also have negative implications, such as:
— Creating a false sense of security or satisfaction, and preventing people from looking for better solutions or improving their skills.
— Lead to more problems or complications in the future, as the temporary fix may not be reliable or compatible with other systems or processes.
— Damaging the reputation or credibility of the person or the organization, as it may suggest that they are incompetent or unprofessional.
— Causing frustration or resentment among the stakeholders or customers, as they may expect a higher standard of service or performance.
Therefore, it is advisable to avoid using this phrase unless it is absolutely necessary, and to communicate clearly and honestly about the reasons and limitations of the temporary fix.
Case 1 can be seen as a consequence of product timeline focus. Though in most cases it is unavoidable, we should keep an eye out for potential problems. Case 2 is usually the case for most projects at the beginning stage; as the project matures, we can see this happening less often. Case 3 originates from issues with management styles, in most cases. If the team is not allowed to innovate and all their ideas are struck down, eventually they stop innovating and the project or product would eventually become obsolete. Case 4 is usually from being in a state of denial. This can harm projects in a fast-changing environment. Case 5 is the most dangerous, I would say! This is why I love to talk about Continuous Improvement!
Continuous improvement is a systematic approach to achieving excellence in any field or activity. It involves identifying problems, analyzing root causes, implementing solutions, and evaluating results. Continuous improvement aims to enhance quality, efficiency, customer satisfaction, and profitability. It also fosters a culture of learning and innovation among employees and stakeholders. Continuous improvement is not a one-time event, but a cycle of planning, doing, checking, and acting that repeats over time.
Why Continuous Improvement?
Continuous improvement is a key concept in many fields and industries, such as engineering, manufacturing, education, health care, and business. It refers to the ongoing process of identifying and implementing changes that enhance the quality, efficiency, effectiveness, or customer satisfaction of a product, service, or system. Continuous improvement is important because it helps organizations adapt to changing customer needs, market conditions, technological innovations, and competitive pressures. It also fosters a culture of learning, innovation, and collaboration among employees and stakeholders. Continuous improvement can lead to increased productivity, reduced costs, improved customer loyalty, and enhanced organizational performance.
Not having Continuous Improvement is dangerous because it means that the organization is complacent and satisfied with the status quo. It means that the organization is not learning from its mistakes, not adapting to changing customer needs and expectations, not innovating new solutions and not optimizing its resources. Not having Continuous Improvement can result in poor quality, low customer satisfaction, high costs, wasted time and missed opportunities. It can also lead to a loss of market share, reputation and profitability.
Therefore, any organization that wants to survive and thrive in the 21st century must embrace Continuous Improvement as a core value and a strategic priority. It must foster a culture of continuous learning, experimentation and feedback. It must empower its employees to identify and solve problems, suggest and implement improvements, and celebrate and share successes. It must also measure and monitor its performance and progress, and use data and evidence to guide its decisions and actions. By doing so, the organization can achieve excellence in everything it does and create value for its customers, stakeholders and society.
As the previous sentence talked about achieving excellence, I would like to add a small note on that.
How to measure excellence?
Excellence is a concept that can be defined in different ways, depending on the context and the criteria. However, some common elements of excellence are quality, consistency, innovation, impact and relevance. To measure excellence, one needs to identify the goals and standards of the domain or field, and then evaluate how well the performance or output meets or exceeds those expectations.
Some possible methods of measuring excellence are:
— Benchmarking: Comparing the performance or output with the best practices or examples in the field or industry, and identifying the gaps and strengths.
— Feedback: Collecting and analyzing the opinions and perceptions of the stakeholders, such as customers, peers, supervisors, experts or reviewers, and using them to improve or validate the performance or output.
— Metrics: Using quantitative or qualitative indicators or measures to assess the performance or output against predefined criteria or objectives, such as efficiency, effectiveness, satisfaction, quality or impact.
— Awards: Applying for or receiving recognition or honours from reputable organizations or institutions that reward excellence in the field or industry, such as certifications, accreditations, prizes or rankings.
— Reflection: Reviewing and evaluating the performance or output based on personal or professional values, goals and standards, and identifying the areas of improvement or development.
Measuring excellence is not a one-time activity, but a continuous process that requires regular monitoring, feedback and improvement. By measuring excellence, one can demonstrate accountability, credibility and value to oneself and others, and also foster a culture of learning and innovation.
Continuous Improvement is important but I am not saying we shouldn’t say “Let’s fix this for now” ever again! What I am trying to say is that whenever we say “Let’s fix this for now”, we need to ensure that the fix doesn’t become the permanent solution unless we test it in all possible scenarios and we do not rely on too many temporary fixes. Instead, we must focus on continuous improvement over time and ensure we replace temporary fixes as soon as possible and ensure we improve the quality of the code with time.