The Right Way, The Wrong Way, and The Way It Is

I hate purists.

You know the type. They’re in all IT shops, in all projects. They’re the people who won’t do any work unless they know exactly how it’ll all look in the end. They research, endlessly. They’re pedantic. They sit and poke holes in your work, claiming that they’re just playing Devil’s advocate. They rarely start an answer with “it depends,” opting instead for condescending phrases like “if I were you” or “if it were up to me.” And they wouldn’t know a minimum viable product if it bit them in the duff.

Nobody knows how a project or product is going to look in the end. And even if you do have a great vision, nobody really knows the path that you’ll take to get there. Why? Because by actually taking action you learn things, and with that knowledge you’ll usually decide to change your course.

At least most people do, on most worthy projects. A purist doesn’t actually ever do much beyond being a corrosive asshole, though, so there’s really no need for them to change their mind. They’re not actually on a path. They’re the organizational equivalent of an airliner’s drag.

Action creates knowledge. Knowledge illuminates the way. Sometimes you’ll discover you’re on a suboptimal course, but getting to the right path requires more time or more money than you have. So you do the best you can with what you’ve been given. Some call it “pragmatic.”

Is it the purist’s “right” way? No.

Is it the wrong way? No.

It’s just the way it is, for now, for those of us that get things done.

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