I live my life following a simple set of rules:
- Measure twice, cut once
- Change is normal, expect and embrace it
- Hope for the best but expect the worst
- The quality of the end result is never an accident, it is always the result of intelligent choices and hard work
I apply these rules to everything I can, starting with preparing and following a simple shopping list, small home projects and ending with my day to day job.
Here’s the simplest and most intuitive example: my new photo wall, which I had to build in the week that my wife was on a business trip.
- Define the outcome – I wanted a photo wall built with happy colored frames and pictures of my family that would fit in the hallway between my bedrooms – this took about five minutes;
- Analyze the location and identify the materials – I knew what I wanted so I searched for photo frames of different proportional sizes and happy colors and I selected the pictures from my photo collection (pictures chosen out of roughly 34GB of previously filtered photos). I also measured the hallway and calculated my constraints – this took about three days;
- Design the product – I built an Excel simulation of my photo wall where I laid out different frames of different sizes and colors and placed different pictures until I got the mix right;
- Test the design – I placed the photos in the photo frames and laid them out on the floor in the exact pattern. I isolated the ones that I did not like (color combination was wrong, photo did not fit in the overall picture, etc.)
- Modify design based on test feedback;
- Implement the design.
- I knew that I will surely select pictures that I won’t like – so instead of choosing only the 10 pictures I used in the simulation, printing them and getting it wrong (which would have made me miss my deadline) I selected and printed about 20 pictures of various sizes;
- I knew that I will surely change my mind about what will the color placing will be when I tested the design – so I bought 50% more photo frames of various colors;
- I knew I would mess up the positioning of the photos, even if I used rulers and drew lines on the wall – so I bought double adhesive tape that would only dry after 5 minutes, leaving me a change to unglue the pictures and straighten them
Change is good
Why expecting change and embracing it is a good thing:
Design – this is how my simulation looked like:
While I worked on it I really liked the feel and loved the layout and coloring.
I went on to testing.
The test and implementing the feedback – this is how my layout changed after the test:
As you can see, I changed two pictures (both content and frame color) – that’s a 20% change from the original design but an overall improvement in the color balance and the overall aspect.
The result – this is how the final setup looks like:
Now isn’t that nice?
I actually finished an hour and a half before my deadline and had time to prepare and place 4 more photo frames around the house – nothing is lost, everything is used J
I try to learn from everything I do and my lessons here were once again:
- Measure, analyze, prepare – then prepare some more;
- Expect and embrace change – change is good for you, actively look for it;
- Expect the unexpected – prepare for it;
- Effort and determination pay off in the quality of the end result.