How to Achieve Perfection in Product and Process

When you’re striving for perfection, how you reach it may be key to success.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #388

Add the Standards to the Scope

After choosing standards, add them to the project’s scope. Make your process standards part of your definition of “perfect.” Europa’s plans for Elbonia now include the outcome, “Have complete control of Elbonian political and economic systems” as well as the process standards “a month before the elections, having spent no more than $5,000 on mind-controlling SIM cards.”

If your habit has been to obsess about the outcomes and not the process, write down your full definition of “perfect” and put it where you see it. Often.

Just intending to do this isn’t enough. Keep reminding yourself that “perfect” takes those measures into account. You can even set reminders for yourself, to train yourself to have your new definition of perfect.”

If you have a daily check-in buddy, add to your list this question: “Did I do my best to make process measures part of my definition of ‘perfect’?”

It’s Anyone’s Prerogative to Change Their Mind

Just because you set standards doesn’t mean you need to keep them. Recalibrate when you need to. Check on your process measures at your weekly status meetings. Make sure everyone agrees that the process is going well. Each week Europa can make sure she still believes that schedule is paramount, and budget doesn’t matter. If she needs to revise, she can. But she’s always reminded that “Perfect” includes the process as well as the outcome.

You want your project perfect, too. To do it, add your process. Identify which parts of the process are important, and define what perfect means for those. Define “perfect” in terms of what you produce, and how you produce it. Write down your definiton of perfect, and check it regularly, to retrain your perfectionism appropriately.

Europa said she’ll be gone for the next two weeks on an overseas trip. Something about elections in Elbonia. Whatever it is, she seems to think it’s critically important. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go sweep up the broken light bulbs covering her office floor.

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I'm Stever Robbins. I run webinars and other programs to help people be Extraordinarily Productive, and build extraordinary careers. If you want to know more, visit SteverRobbins.com

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About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.