Quality is fixed, Quantity is variable

"Fast, Good, Cheap- pick two"

No thanks.

This classic agency statement assumes that quality is a variable. In the past I accepted this logic- sure we can do something fast but it may not be as good!

I would excuse an outcome thinking "well we had to do it quickly".

What I was really doing was signaling, unwittingly- "hey, what we really care about is money, pay us and we will do something poorly if you want it done quickly."

That creates an inconsistent product which then creates market confusion. Even worse it creates culture issues- Who are we? What do we believe in? Where is the bar set?

I'm not saying that everyone should use the same measurement for quality. Our measure of quality may be lower or higher than other firms. There is space in almost every market for different quality products. What I'm advocating is to know your standards and stick to them which will mean passing on "cheap, fast" work when it can't meet your standard of "good".

So now when a client approaches us looking for quick turnaround we never put quality on the table. It's non-negotiable. Instead we negotiate around the quantity of the engagement which mostly comes down to two things- the scope of the project (features and content) and client engagement ("you will need to say 'yes' often and quickly to meet your deadline").

This focus on a consistent quality product has really changed the way we work. It has created better outcomes. It has improved the client experience. It has given the team something to be proud about. It has enabled us to hold each other accountable.

Do we always bat 1000? Heck, no. There is still much to be improved. But I'm ok with that. Perfection is, and should be, always out of reach. The goal is to keep reaching.