“If you think good design expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”— Ralf Speth

Great design is the foundation of speed to value for any organization.

Too often, the pressure is on people to hurry up and get something done. People attempt to do good work under that pressure. They quickly get something new created. They get it out in front of people, and it gets used. The team then iterates on that first product and incrementally improves it.

This is not bad, at first. But, sooner or later, the team will struggle. They will get slower and slower as they try to add more features to that initial design.

I have seen this happen to many good teams. Eventually, management thinks they are a failed team.

Exceptional leaders are masters at leading the design process.

  • They know when to do prototypes and why.
  • They hone the ability to switch gears from the prototyping sandbox to the production process.
  • The master the 7+ different types of technical debt.  They know what to do when they have technical debt. They know how to prevent technical debt.
  • They know that great design results in the best speed to customer value.
  • They know that design is where creativity lives.

I have coached multiple teams to make the mindset shift to be masters of design. They increased their speeds by 10x and more.

Becoming a master of design is a core part of the Exceptional Engineer (SM) Experience. You can see some more details here.

One of my mentors often talked about the importance of design. Her mantra was and is, “The key to great products is Design, Design, Design.”  I agree. What do you think?​

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,


Alan Willett

Photo by Tim Wildsmith on Unsplash

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