Ways to distinguish yourself – #57 Focus on the last mile

There is a saying in the software development world that “it takes 90%
of the time to complete 90% of the project and another 90% of the time
to complete the other 10%.

Think about it – how many of your projects
are almost complete? If a few projects come to your mind instantly
don’t panic – you are not alone. We all are experts in getting to 90%
completion level on most of the projects that we are working on.

If that is the case – isn’t it simple to “stand out” of the crowd and
focus on the last mile on your projects and take them to completion.

There is another reason for focusing on the last mile – many times a
project that’s 90% complete is of little use. Let me give you an
example. I was in Boston speaking at the Open Source Business Conference a
couple of days ago. I stayed at the Marriott Newton and absolutely
loved the hospitality of the folks over there. They keep raising the
bar on the kind of service they provide.

In the end
when I wanted to check out, I realized that I could complete the check
out procedure via the Interactive TV. Here is where Marriott got the
project to 90% completion level. When I wanted to get a copy of the
bill (they call it folio) they told me that they can send it by email.
I thought that was nice and clicked on the button. I was taken to a
screen where I was asked to input my email address, name and phone
number. All I had was a remote control with numbers on it. Go figure!

I had to stop at the reception and finish the formalities. If only
Marriott had finished the other 10% of the project, they would have
saved time for me and them 🙂