In IT we always have deadlines. And yes as a business owner I want to know when something will be finisihed. As a change artist, I know that for creativity you need slack time. This video is one of the nicest ways to show this. Thx To Ilse Heip
At the end of 2007 and 2008 we made videos about these years as a kind of new years card. This is last years video. Click here for the high quality version on YouTube It took a little longer as I started the Agile Retrospection of the Year. Technorati Tags: 2009,2010,PairCoachingRead More >
12 comments on “Creativity & Deadline”
do you think that the children were pleased with their drawnings?
would they still used more time if it would be available?
would be the results significantly better?
you didn’t talked about that in many cases, the deadline is not just an arbitary date, but being late would actually cost significantly more for the company(missed opportunity. lost contract, etc.).
So while I agree, that time constraints can lower the quality of the end result, however in most cases, you don’t have to produce the best possible result, but the best possible result from the limited time and resources.
ps: and I didn’t mentioned, that many people would produce the same mediocre just slack off some more, if there wouldn’t be any time limit.
1) I did not create the video, but looking at the children’s faces, yes I assum that ther were more happy with the second result as the first.
2) yes, parkinsons law shows that.
3) At one point the added time would not add more value
4) That is why real options & dimentional planning are much better then pure deadlines
5) What do you mean with resources? Fungable meatbased programming units?
6) A) There was not “no time limit” the time limit was now more addapted to the task at hand, instead of an insane deadline
B) That remark on it’s own is not taking people into account. And so wrong. I have worked with people all around the world and yes, I have worked with less motivated people. A deadline was NEVER the answer to motivate people. And most people I worked with where very motivated. Much more then most managers think they are. And the level of which they are motivated to create something good that most managers can not imagine.
“What do you mean with resources? Fungable meatbased programming units?”
I meant money, time, etc. but of course in a way, people are assets also…
“There was not “no time limit” the time limit was now more addapted to the task at hand, instead of an insane deadline”
insane deadline? all of them managed to finish the project.
of course the time was really short, but all comes down to the expectations and the ROI.
if you need that drawing to show it to a deaf person, so that he can understand the word clock, you are pretty much fine with the 10 seconds version.
the important thing is to know what you need, what is good enough, and produce that efficiently.
“That remark on it’s own is not taking people into account.”
nope, I mentioned that many people would behave like that, and from personal experience, I see that happening.
ofc. you can and should create a team from motivated and hard-working people, but there are times and teams when setting up time constraints can yield for better results.
1) I don’t understand what other resources were involved in the exercise.You said time & resources. So time was not part of resources. If it was not people, what resoucces were limited in the exercise?
2) Al of them finished the project? Please look at the video again. Not all of them really finished it. A lot of the clock are not recognisable.
And yes this was exactly my point. Do we care about costs or care about value.
If you look at how apple manages projects. They do it from a value perspective.
way too many projects are looking at the value. Most people are only looking at the costs.
If you show the results of the first part of the exercise to customers, I ‘m pretty sure we can sell it to customers as this is what they asked for.
>the important thing is to know what you need, what is good enough, and produce that efficiently.”
again have a look at real options and dynamical planning, that is doing this from a value point of view not from a cost point of view. When you start from a cost point of view you will hardly ever reach the second example.
“that remark on it’s own is not taking people into account.”
well I have the totally opposite experience.
I have never ever seen a a team better performing when you give them an outside insane deadline.
Let them decide on the deadline and we are talking differently.
This is a nice example of you get what you expect.
You expect adults to behave like children and they will
expect children to behave like adults and they will too.
“1) I don’t understand what other resources were involved in the exercise.You said time & resources. So time was not part of resources. If it was not people, what resoucces were limited in the exercise?”
I was talking ROI in general, not about this specific case in the video, see my original reply:
“So while I agree, that time constraints can lower the quality of the end result, however in most cases, you don’t have to produce the best possible result, but the best possible result from the limited time and resources.”
2, they were recognizable for me, maybe I missed a few shots.
you are talking about ROI also, there is a quality level where you can’t sell even a near-zero price, and there is a price level, where you can’t sell even the best quality product.
companies have to find their market, they can aim for acceptable quality for cheap prices, or for high quality for higher prices, but one thing they can’t do:
– not caring about ROI, pretending that they have infinite resources.
a good example would be //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenmue
“Considering the high production costs, Shenmue experienced disappointing sales. According to IGN, the game, which cost an unprecedented $70 million to make, would have had to be purchased twice by every single Dreamcast owner in order for Sega to turn a profit.”
gotta go, I will answer on the second part from home.
This video does express our everyday problems with management well. But what happens here? The kids do what they can in a limited amount of time, with limited knowledge of the expected outcome. “Draw me a clock” = “Build me a website” or whatsoever. Nevertheless, the example is extremely great to see and to show to anyone involved in setting deadlines. What it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) communicate is that it’s not the managers’ task to set the deadlines, but the (and let’s switch here from kids to developers) team of motivated, informed professionals. The problem Tyrael faces is because of none of the parties are acting as professionals as Uncle Bob meant it. I guess this correlates to the overall culture of a firm, city, country, etc…
But once again. The abstract of our problems are extremely well visualized in the video! 🙂
>none of the parties are acting as professionals as Uncle Bob meant it
well that brings me back to: treat people like children and they will behave like them.
If managers set deadlines like done in the first example, yes you will have non motivated people that get mediocre results.
why would they even try to get a great result in the insane deadline?
If they would do that, they would have nothing and they would be called a failure.
Another part we have not been discussing
the second try was also that.
A second attempt.
“Build one to throw away, you will anyway”
“I have never ever seen a a team better performing when you give them an outside insane deadline.”
I didn’t explicitly stated giving insane deadlines, that was a thing that you brought up in your previous comment, and I just replied, that the insaneness of the deadline can’t be measured without knowing the details of the task (specification).
But I agree that having deadline, which everybody know that can be met is bad for the moral ( //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_march_(project_management) ), and see also //www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090210162035.htm
So I agree with you that having an impossible goal/deadline is a bad thing, but I never stated in my comments that having an __insane__ or __set by management__ deadlines would help productivity.
I only mentioned that many people not having a deadline/time pressure is just an invitation for slacking.
Same thing with telecommuting, there are many people who can’t work remotely, because they can’t organize their stuff, or they need the pressure to fight off procrastination:
I don’t know many successful project/company with the “highest possible quality, will be done, when it’s done, leave us alone” setup.
One such an example would be Blizzard, but imo most company/project with that attitude would just end up as 3D Realms/Duke Nukem Forever, if provided with “infinite” resources, and “when it’s done” attitude.
Even those, who manage to finish the perfect project can end up as a failure, either because the market moved, or simply isn’t big enough to make it profitable.
“Let them decide on the deadline and we are talking differently.”
Having self-appointed deadlines are better, because:
– it is easier to believe that they are achievable
– if there were no foul play (managers biasing group, or management asking for shorter deadlines, or changing the specification after the deadline was set) then the group can’t really blame others, and can discover and learn from the real problem post-mortem.
“You expect adults to behave like children and they will
expect children to behave like adults and they will too.”
I just expect them to be humans, they are flawed, they have different priorities than the management.
“Draw me a clock” = “Build me a website”
Yeah, thats a possible interpretation, albeit given the task at hand, that can or can’t be a sufficient specification.
I just think that the video is using a bad example to prove that deadlines are bad in general.
I mean I could create a video showing building a simple application using best practices(using a framework, TDD, design patterns, etc.), then showing the same person hacking together the same app in spaghetti style, then claiming that spaghetti is the winner, because it runs faster and was finished sooner.
I wouldn’t take into account that it isn’t maintainable or scalable, hence it will cost more in the long run.
“I guess this correlates to the overall culture of a firm, city, country, etc…”
yeah, I have more experience in seeing projects going downhill than prospering. 🙂
“If managers set deadlines like done in the first example, yes you will have non motivated people that get mediocre results.”
“why would they even try to get a great result in the insane deadline?”
the children did, and I also know a few people who would try to change the insane deadlines, but if they can’t they would suck it up, and do everything what they can to succeed.
they are professionals, they are paid to do their job, and they find pride not (only) in the clean code, but meeting the expectations and pushing the bottom line.
“Build one to throw away, you will anyway”
agree, the whole industry is moving from the years long development cycles and waterflow to agile and iterative development.
having many small/short deadline is better than one big, you have much more chance to fix/re-evaluate.
(btw: I liked the premise of the video,, but I think that it was de-railed, too one-sided, maybe it’s only because the length of the vid, whatever. I just wanted to play the devil advocates here, to show that deadlines in general are not bad at all.
a few related articles what I wanted to adress here properly, but I was too lazy to do it:
I love the video, but not mainly for the deadline thing.
Setting an arbitrary date is stupid, but what the example shows ist that kids have a much more intuitive and quick understanding of the concept of a timebox. They produce a result, which, in both cases, is good enough considering the time invested (on average).
Adults need training to learn that:-)
The second thing to learn from the video is that creativity does need time, but not too much (Parkinson).
btw (as you asked on Twitter) I don’t see where Real Options apply to this example:-)
take care, thanks for sharing this!
Where do Real Options apply?
Usually people have a fixed request and they want it by a certain time.
With Real Options (and more particular) the dynamic planning implementation of it:
you will create first a minimal version of what you want (called Dirt Road)
If the customer thinks their is value that is higher then investing time & money, they can implement a second versiion with more features (called a cobblestone road)
and when they still want more, they can implement all the wissle and bells. (The highway)
>> The first time the kids implemented the minimal version
>> The second (or many third or more times) they implemented the nicer versions.
Or as Lunivore said on twitter: we want to have the kids create as many clocks in 10 minutes.
“Creativity needs more time but not much.” The hard part is to know what is enough time; I think the fact that the first deadline was ridiculous low, helped to gve the impression that 10 minutes was enough. What I see is that most projects get way too little time. In the end they all need more time, but always squeezed in so small block because they want to give the developers the feeling that they are not in control and that they have not enough time and thus they will deliver faster.
This is a lovely video. I love the idea of seeing how time affects creativity.
It would be great to see how time affects creativity for a number of time periods. Say for example 10 seconds, 1 minute, 10 minute and 30 minutes. I think sometimes we need time pressure to be creative to solve a problem.
Thx, I love the idea.
You forget one option: let them set their own deadline.
how do you want to proceed?