Making More Work for Ourselves
Last week, I spent all day in a meeting with other developers. We were hashing out the interface for several upcoming additions to Accordance for iOS, and I'm really excited about where the app is going.
In these meetings, I and the other non-programmers have the luxury of being able to suggest cool ideas without any real notion of how easy they'll be to implement. By the end of the day, I think we were all feeling a little guilty. So when we squeezed in one last feature to discuss, we all tried to make it as easy as possible for our iOS developer. That's when he went to the whiteboard and sketched out some really cool ideas. The rest of us all agreed that what he suggested would be great, and he quipped that he had just made more work for himself than he had originally envisioned.
It occurred to me as I drove home that making more work for oneself is a pretty universal dynamic among Accordance employees. For example, I'm currently evaluating a bunch of new modules that we're just about ready to release. These modules are in good shape, and I could probably release them as is, but I keep finding little things we can do to make them even better. I'm making more work for myself (and others) at a time when we all have plenty to do, but I just can't seem to settle for "good enough." I want these modules to be "insanely great."
I could tell story after story which demonstrates that same impulse on the part of other members of the Accordance team. I could mention the care our programmers take to squash bugs before release and the speed with which they fix any that are found afterward. I could talk about the time our sales staff takes to make sure you get what you want without feeling pressured to buy something you don't need. Or the way they'll contact someone who did not take advantage of an available discount and credit him the savings he would have received. I could disclose the money we spend to have scholars improve the tagging of texts we don't think are quite "research-grade." I could mention the seminar trainers who spend their "breaks" offering one-on-one help to the attendees. Again and again, we go beyond what anyone would consider "reasonable" or "acceptable" to "make more work for ourselves."
It really is remarkable to work for a company where going the extra mile is a universal employee trait, but I can honestly say I can't think of a single exception on our staff. We all tend to make more work for ourselves, because we all want to provide an insanely great experience for you.