Hesitation cost


This is one of my favorite xckd-comics. Mainly because it relates to a topic I discuss with a lot of the companies we work with.

Most companies end up in situations where they have alternative paths forward, and incomplete data concerning what to do. The natural path forward from there is to explore all alternatives in parallel until you have enough data.

This is not an ideal situation to be in. Obviously, you’re spending time on an alternative you will choose not to pursue sometime in the future. But even worse, most spend too much time “analyzing whether alternative A or B is more efficient”.

Because of this, I argue you should reduce time spent in this situation. The best way to do this is to commit to a decision earlier – when you have less data. Jeff Bezos talks about at making decisions with 70% information, rather than waiting until you have 90% – because getting to 90% takes too much time.

It’s not an easy advice to give, because you are more likely to do mistakes by following it. But the alternative is not moving fast enough to make mistakes at all. Then I’d rather make mistakes and have time to course-correct.