Done is better than perfect



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You’ve wrapped up a project, and now you’re ready to ship it. But then your mind starts racing: is it even good? Did I miss anything? Will people like it? Is it actually done?

If your work does what it’s supposed to, it’s ready to go—but how do you overcome that fear and just press send?

We invited Brad Weaver, Chief Experience Officer at Nine Labs, to cover the steps to getting more work out there more often—and how to build better relationships with your clients and users along the way.

Watch the full recording below, or read on for our highlights from Brad’s talk.


Getting to done

A study by the University of San Diego looked at if exceeding expectations was symmetrical with disappointment—meaning, if going above and beyond was perceived with the same intensity as failing. 

It wasn’t.

The study showed that breaking promises is costly. And on the flip side, exceeding expectations might not be worth the effort.

Think of it this way: people remember when you screw up and tend to forget when you go all out. Brad used restaurants as an example. We rarely praise the routine good job—we expect it! The service and food has to blow your mind in order for you to talk about it.  

“We rarely praise the routine good job—we expect it.”

Then what do people remember? Unfortunately, the same study says they remember when you’re late.

So, work that was good enough, if on time and on budget, is perceived the same as work that was really good.

Another thing to remember is that your expectations of a project as the observer are never the same as the expectations of the creator. The creator will almost never be satisfied with their final work.

Brad’s initial advice was that you should ‘go perfect’ sometimes, but not all the time. Those other times, you have to learn to be okay with okay.

What is done?

Keith Frankel, Creative Director at Hubspot, wrote an article in 2014 about how to tell when a deliverable is good enough. His guidelines were:

  • It successfully solves the problem, addresses the need, or conveys the message intended
  • It’s clearly and distinctly on brand
  • The quality of work is consistent with or above the level of previous work
  • It has been thoroughly yet objectively scrutinized by other qualified individuals
  • The final decision of preference had been left in the hands of the creator

Brad wanted to expand on that definition, and identified 3 key roadblocks that you may run into when getting to done. The first is resources, mainly time and money. Time is finite and money is often out of your hands. The second is communication, which Brad describes as a 2-way street that you only control one way. The last roadblock is fear, which is directly in your hands.

I encourage you to watch the video above to learn how Brad recommends tackling those 3 roadblocks, including dealing with deadlines, delegation, money, communication, presenting your work, and revisions.


Margaret Kelsey
Margaret Kelsey leads content marketing at Appcues. Before Appcues, she built content programs for InVision’s design community for 3.5 years and has roots in painting and PR. She’s a big fan of puns, Blackbird Donuts, and Oxford commas—probably in that order.

Keep up with me on and .

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