How much of your work do you throw away?

I throw away work all the time. But I must admit, it’s never easy.

We place a huge premium on getting things done & having to discard work seems like we’ve wasted time. Time invested in earlier work has its own gravity that’s difficult to escape from. We fear that we look silly for not seeing the ‘obvious’. Projects have stringent deadlines.

These are all good reasons, but this is a vicious loop that can be catastrophic for projects.

I’ve often gone to clients and asked for a period in the beginning when I will not have deliverables. I spend time reading, talking to people and often, just thinking about the problem. I take a lot of notes and keep revising and changing them till I hit a point where the picture makes sense. This can take up to a couple of weeks. The end result may seem obvious. But this gives me & the client confidence that we haven’t missed any glaring loopholes. We can start putting foundations for building the product.

Time may be a luxury for your project, but I’d encourage you to put time away for discovery. During this phase, keep throwing away your work & starting over again as you learn more. It’s difficult, but a few weeks down the line, it will help you avoid costly mistakes.