Right things done right

We always want to do the right thing right, right? There is only one way to do that, increase the efficiency and effectiveness. First we need to understand the difference between the two, since a lot of people including my past self confuse the two. Even though these work hand in hand one does not imply the other. That is you can have a company which is effective but not efficient.

Efficiency is about functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort. It usually can be expressed as a percentage of the input and output. Effectiveness has to do with the end product or result. Essentially being effective is about doing the right things, while being efficient is about doing things right. 


In the above diagram there is only one quadrant we want to be in: top right. It is where right things are done right. I was going to argue as to why it is more important to be effective rather than efficient, because being effective will help you survive. However life is too short for second options, your only option should be to thrive. The main question is how to make sure you get to the top right quadrant as efficient and effective as possible. Then once you get there you need to make sure you can stay there.

The answer probably lies in your processes, tools and resources. The better they are the better you are. However adding processes and tools is a double-edged sword. Adding processes and tools is anti-agile. In agile we should value individuals and interactions over processes and tools. In essence any tools and processes should enhance and enrich interactions and transform people into individuals. Adding more processes and tools will slow you down and probably make you less efficient, but not having any will result in chaos. As always this is a balance of the cost curve against the benefit curve.

I would like to close by proposing 10 guidelines to help increase your efficiency and effectiveness, whether you are a company or individual:

  1. Be honest
  2. Get feedback and stop to reflect – on things you are doing right and wrong
  3. Automate slow processes
  4. Keep it simple
  5. Buy the best tools money can buy
  6. Work with the best
  7. Plan and set targets
  8. Deal with conflict asap
  9. Have fun
  10. Invest in knowledge

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