Why is it that the closer you get to being done, the more you have to do?
Today we launched cricketdesignworks.com version 4.0. Our old site was nice enough, we were still getting compliments, but it was getting on in years (a fine pre-mobile vintage). What we’ve launched today is a big step up. We’re getting ready to break out the bubbly and celebrate, as I reflect on the past couple of months and all the work Tracy and the rest of the team has put into this beautiful beast.
It always happens, no matter how much you plan ahead. When you’re close to finishing a project, there’s this building fear that it’s not going to be perfect for the intended audience, that the work you’ve done won’t blow them away. So you go back and polish, question, get opinions, correct (again and again). This is the trickiest part when you’re working with a team. you get tired and have lost that initial enthusiasm—you’re ready to move on. How do you get to that finish line and still love the work you’ve done?
The thing is, nothing will ever be perfect. It can’t be. And we repeatedly find that the reward for pressing ahead is the unanticipated magic that frequently accompanies that final hour. This is your chance for “good enough” to become both better and done. Today can be the day that “what if...” becomes “check it out.”
During the final push, you have to urge all involved to have faith in the process and the final product, while you simultaneously challenge one another to make it as good as it can be. As a result, the more pieces that come into place during the countdown to launch, the more other pieces feel out of place and seem to demand a rework. Some of these things have been staring at you all along, unresolved strands of potential that remain due to some unfortunate combination stubborness, blind optimism and lazy art direction.
Knowing what truly needs to change versus what’s fine makes the process of finishing something an art. It’s a balance of “yes” and “no.” At Cricket Design Works, we carefully weigh what is possible, what is practical, what is ideal and what is good enough (for our standards of excellence). It’s always with mixed feelings that we meet Occam’s Razor to mine the gems and toss the turds we have been polishing. It can be tough going to stay focused and work hard while remaining open and unattached to the result of this effort. But when you set aside your ego, the work is just the work you love. When you remember that, this last part makes crafting the final touches a little easier.
It’s easy to hold your creations captive in the rosy domain of “what could be.” But locked away behind closed doors the work serves no one but the creator, and even then in a limited capacity. Sometimes it’s better to be done so we can reap the rewards of reaction, conversation, inspiration and learning when people begin to respond than chase after the impossible. Because then, we have us a realistic measure of what we’ve accomplished.
With this, I raise a glass full of gratitude and toast Tracy Harris, Alex Kendrick, Narayan Mahon, Sarah Kissel, Bethany Friedericks, Tessa Gibbs, Michael Sambar, Christina King, Sarah Crossland and Phil Redman. We have made it to the other side and it’s more than good enough to see the light of day. I look forward to your feedback as we add new work and insight.
One parting thought—a quote from Mother Goose, that has been a mantra for me from childhood. Recently I've added one little caveat that seems about right:
good better best,
til good be better and better is best*.
*Best is what you have when the time runs out.
And that time is now. Cheers!