“This is the time of no regret
In a forward momentum race
We leave in our wake
What is broken and forgotten”
— Dark Tranquility (Swedish metal band)

My client was struggling with a significant decision. 

The key question was a choice between A and B.

A) Should we keep adding new features and fixing the base system that has significant technical debt?

B) Should we invest in a new design and build a clean system?

This is a choice many companies and individuals struggle with.  This even happens with cars, refrigerators, and really any type of technology you may own.  Eventually, the repairs of things become more expensive than the cost of replacing them.

But it is always a tough decision, especially when considering the very expensive replacement of a codebase.

I suggest that leaders consider the following two factors when making this decision.

  • How much do the engineers love or hate working in the system? If they hate it, it is likely because it is so slow to make changes. The best engineers will leave this situation.
  • How much slower is it to make changes in the old system than it will be in the new approach? This can often be measured. Many of my clients have gained speed improvements from 10 times faster to 22 times faster. 

Now go into the future 10 years.  Get a telescope and look backward.  Consider the larger and longer-term perspective.

When looking through the telescope of a decade, most of my clients have made the hard choice of picking option B and investing in the future.

Try this exercise with the decisions you are making.  

Which decision made the “you” ten years in the future happier?

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

Photo by Ken Cheung on Unsplash

You may also like:

Endurance Is Not Always a Virtue

I have seen leaders show great endurance in leading marathon projects. They are putting in marathon hours. The sweat sheen on them and their teams is obvious, even heroic.

Do You Need a Win?

A client wrote to me recently with a note that said simply “I need a win.” Have you been there, where it feels like you have faced a sudden losing streak and quite simply there is a need for a win? I have. I expect Elon Musk is looking for one with Tesla.

The Reader’s Edge

The exceptional leaders are voracious consumers of information. They listen to audio books, they read books, they seek out others to hear their stories. The things they read spans multiple genres, time periods, and cultures.

ANNIVERSARIES ARE IMPORTANT MARKERS

"Ritual is important to us as human beings. It ties us to our traditions and our histories." — Miller Williams, Poet My wife and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Even though real work of building a life together happens in the minutes and hours between...

LEADERSHIP ON FATHER’S DAY

"Welcome to Sherwood!" — Robin Hood Father's Day was a delight for me. My family treated me a number of fun things. I was served breakfast in a hammock. I was treated to a delicious cold milkshake at a local ice-cream shop. My daughter and I have a plan to go buy some...

SUDS MAY SPILL, BEER SHOULD NOT

"I have never had to face anything that could overwhelm the native optimism and stubborn perseverance I was blessed with. " — Sonia Sotomayor One of my best clients and I were enjoying the start of our day at a local coffee cafe. We covered a range of topics and one...

PERSISTENCE, PREY, AND IDEAS

"Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery. " — Mark Amidon The Washington DC zoo has this very interesting roulette-style wheel located just past the cheetah exhibit. You spin the wheel to find out if you caught your prey, your...

ANTICIPATE INFLECTION POINTS

"A strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. that change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end." — Andrew Grover There are a wave of...

PATIENCE, PASSION, PERSISTENCE, PROGRESS

"Even though it is not always easy… being a planetary scientist is one of the coolest jobs on the planet!" — Elizabeth (Zibi) Turtle   Imagine exploring Titan! And to be clear, I am not referring to the planet Titan of Thanos (Avengers), I am referring to a...

Making the Leap

Paradigm leaps take need, courage, and sweat. You will notice a different look and feel to the newsletter this week. Earlier this year, I became unsatisfied with a few key things and decided to make some changes.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This