I recently had a discussion with a friend on a short excursion out of town and I was talking about how difficult entrepreneurship can be — more specifically around time available and quality of output. She asked, “how come you say it is difficult?” My answer was, “I don’t know when to stop a unit of work and it is difficult to know when you have done a good job or not within the constraints that I have”.
For context, my definition of output is as follows — output is a unit of work that an individual produces from a set of inputs in direct response to a need or problem that needs to be solved.
For example a carpenter will use wood, hammers and nails to create a 4-seater dining set for a customer.
After going back and forth about the different variables that go into work and the scenarios/outcomes that happen, we settled for this framework in regards to the output of work;
A unit of work or body of work can have any of these scores to be satisfactory. Let’s explore these scores a little further.
For a unit of work to be ok means that, the output produced addressed the bare minimum requirements in question and is therefore functional. In our example, if a carpenter produces a table and 4 chairs that are sturdy, then it is okay —it has a Score 1. The output achieves the function that the customer requested for.
When a unit of work is intuitive or clear, the output produced is not only functional but it is also intuitive and clear in its application to the end user (person who is using this unit of work like a guest). In our example, the dining set has a Score 2 because the items produced are sturdy, consistent in shape /size and are easy to use. The output is both functional and intuitive /clear.
A unit of work can be great when it is functional, intuitive/ clear and more. The more is what is termed as Delightful as the output produced is unexpectedly is simple to use, sparks joy or goes above and beyond the expectations of the consumer. For the carpenter the dining set is delightful when it is sturdy, consistent in shape/size, easy to use and is a joy to use because of its appearance or comfort —this edge gives it a score of 3. The output is functional, intuitive and delightful.
Delight: [count noun]a cause or source of great pleasure.
One of the ways I have found this framework to be useful is when I am reporting how far I am with a task, or to vocalise that I might need more time for a specific request. Use this score framework as a guide to ask yourself, have I done the best that I can do? At what stage of the process am I at? Do I need to do any further (sometimes you don’t) ?
Every creator, worker, or entrepreneur understands that Score 3 is the best score and it is what any output is usually compared against. However it is not always easy to achieve a Score 3 in everything you do.
To achieve delight, a few factors (above ok and intuitive/clear) have to exist to take it to the next level. These include;
As an entrepreneur deciding which score you are ok settling with for a specific task can be difficult. This makes it very important to understand who your audience is and more importantly what the problem you are solving for is. These will enable you to know how much effort to attach to a task, and make calculated trade-offs (opportunity cost).
I use the framework as a roadmap to production. Score yourself the next time you are working on something.