1% Improvement Over Time Is Significant

Who wants to be 1% better?  Not very many people.

Who wants to be 50% better? Significantly more people.

Who wishes they could be perfect? Most people.

I had heard the quotes “Perfection not a destination, it is a journey that never ends” and “The longest journey starts with a single step”.  This is why I love the principles behind agile software development.  There are really only two imperatives.  Inspect and Adapt.  If you are regularly doing these two things you should be seeing some form of continuous improvement in what you are doing.

It took Agile Bob presenting “Being Agile vs Doing Agile” at the Phoenix SCRUM User Group (phxsug) to remind me of this very simple principle.  The hammer to drive the nail home was that if a team is doing 1 week iterations and improves 1% per iteration, they will see over a 50% improvement in the course of a single year.

Stop and think about that for just a minute.  50% improvement in a single year!  Can you imagine bench pressing 50% more 12 months now?  How about cutting 50% off your marathon time this year?  50% more push ups?  Reading 50% more?  Knowing 50% more people.  What about making 50% more money per year?

The problem is we try to make 50% improvement in single week instead of an incremental improvement as little as 1% and when we don’t, we give up and fall back into regular patterns of the status quo.  I challenge you to be 1% better this week.  Then the week after that and the week after that.

Hell.  Be Dangerous.  Consider yourself a 1%-er.  An outlaw to the status quo!