This episode of learning from mistakes focuses on clearly defined objectives.  The error highlights what can go wrong when we fail to have them.  We also see these same potential issues pop up when we have weakly defined requirements.  Finally, there is a need to communicate all of this as well.  When we don’t know what we don’t know, many things other than hilarity ensue.

Clearly Defined Objectives Are Needed Through Our Daily Life

There are many ways to fall for this lack of clarity.  One of the most common ones is to fall back on labels and similar mechanisms.  There are many opportunities in life to communicate an idea through a generalization and send the wrong message.  Some of the best examples point to grammar mistakes.  However, labels and painting with a broad brush achieve the same result.  Just think of a simple title like a manager.  It can be used in many situations but is vastly different in reality.  For example, do you think a manager at a fast-food restaurant is professionally anywhere near in skillset a manager for a professional sports team?  Is an office manager the same as a people manager?  They are not.  However, we can use that simple word in all of the above situations.  

The Lesson Learned

The situation described in this issue was a big loss in a way.  The initial decision was swept away because of the way it was executed.  However, it did work out once the approach was switched to one that was clear and direct.  While the mistake was not erased, a path forward was created that allowed everyone to put it behind them.  Keep that in mind when you are struggling with clearly defined objectives.  The solution can be a clarification away. 

If you like this season, you will probably like Scott Adams’ book, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.”

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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