Deadlines the Slayer of Learning


Only 24 hours left until the deadline, your plans were so grand you were going to change so much, but time betrayed you. Now with only a few hours to go you sit staring down a half finished product. What do you do? Do you decide to ship it anyway and just cobble together the remaining, but as best you can? Or do you admit defeat and push it back saying you'll make it next time?

This is the problem with change and learning; we live in the real world where things have to be finished and there are deadlines to meet. At some point you'll run into this dilemma where you have to decide to release it half complete or push it back and try again later. The problem is neither of these options are useful when you're trying to develop and learn about a new idea. If you throw something together last minute you add complications to it and muddy the outcomes of your testing. If you push it off and wait until next time you risk never trying anything and never moving forward.The best option is to do neither, but both at the same time. Focus on finishing and cleaning up the things that can be completed in time and accept and acknowledge those that canÕt. By doing this youÕre able to have some focused learning to guarantee a successful learning cycle instead of having a bunch of results on things that you know arenÕt very good to begin with.

A side benefit of taking the time to break down changes and making decisions on what to push of until next time is that you can actually save time by doing it. As you decide to move things to not be included in this cycle take the time to analyze them. Look for the changes you can make that take no additional effort but may have an effect on the outcome of the test.Be it executing the steps of a program in a different way, configuring the parts differently, or any other countless possibilities.Sometimes a simple change is all that was needed and it wasnÕt until we had to stop and make the tough decisions that we could see it.

Next time you run into a deadline that you canÕt possibly make take the time to stop and analyze the project.Make hard decisions on what you can and cannot achieve and concisely put more effort to testing and learning about only a few certain things.