Incrementalists vs. Completionists

Joel Spolksy has a good article on management books in which he quotes Michael Lopp:

The disagreement reminded me there are two distinct personalities when it comes to devising solutions to problems: Incrementalists and Completionists.

Incrementalists are realists. They have a pretty good idea of what is achievable given a problem to solve, a product to ship. They're intimately aware of how many resources are available, where the political landscape is at any given moment, and they know who knows what. They tend to know all the secrets and they like to be recognized for that fact.

Completionists are dreamers. They have a very good idea of how to solve a given problem and that answer is SOLVE IT RIGHT. Their mantra is, "If you're going to spend the time to solve a problem, solve it in a manner that you aren't going to be solving it AGAIN in three months."

I think the discussion that Paolo and I are having about Ring is neatly framed by this division. Paolo is, I think, a classic incrementalist and I am a classic dreamer completionist. If I've changed over the years it's that I've realised (due in no small part to acknowledging the things that people such as Paolo and Dave achieve) that I am a completionist and how much it colours my judgement. Realising that makes it easier to compromise.

05/07/2007 13:42 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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