Want to speed up your execution? Think about these things

Recently, David Girouard’s article Speed as a Habit has been making the rounds at XO Group.  I couldn’t agree more because I too believe speed is THE most valuable competitive advantage a product driven organization can have.

The fastest team goes to market many more times, learns many more lessons from live feedback, and in the end comes out with better results.

The article does a great job of making a case for why Speed matters and giving some examples of the idea in action.
I want to elaborate a little more on what it means to execute on it holistically, because I think a team can achieve speed in a lot of different ways:

  1. Speed through decision making (making tradeoffs on projects/features to accelerate the progress of the highest priority projects)
  2. Speed through infrastructure (better tools and work environment makes everyone more productive)
  3. Speed through individuals leveling-up (honing production skills and continuous learning means each person can be more productive)
  4. Speed through hours (putting in more time to get it done)
  5. Speed through people (adding more people)
  6. Speed through team process (better process helps us to scale and repeat what works)
  7. Speed through communication (better communication helps us to refine 1-6)

The time, effort, cost involved to gain speed using each of the above varies.

Some of these like infrastructure, leveling-up, team process, communication require consistent long-term investments.  The payoffs are hard to measure, but their impact can be substantial and sustained from project to project.  Others like changes in decision making, hours, and people can be executed on a switch with immediate impact on speed, but it can be harder to sustain some of these over time.

There is no silver bullet.  The most effective teams know which levers to pull depending on the situation, and aren’t afraid of making the investments to ensure sustainable long-term speed.

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