Perfect is the enemy of good

“Dit que le mieux est l’ennemi du bien”

— Voltaire

The phrase “perfect is the enemy of good” is one that I preach often to my teams. We all want to deliver something devoid of flaws, but perfection has to be balanced against cost, delivery, and value to your customers (or to your own sanity). The challenge is always finding that line between cutting corners and actually building something useful. I am always reminded of biological systems. Biological systems are not perfect. They find a state where they are able to achieve their goals, until evolution finds a better one. That is how good engineering teams should function. Build something that works well under the current set of constraints, and keep iterating and evolving that system over time as constraints and inputs evolve or as you find new ways of improving the system. That approach has served me well, although I am pretty sure it is not perfect.

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Computing, management, synthesizers, science, photography, writing, geekery, fatherhood. I run Containers, Linux, and HPC @ AWS.

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