Whenever you propose your plan for a big project in a meeting, and everyone is immediately fine with it, then you know something is wrong. Maybe not necessarily with your plan, but with the group you are presenting your plan to.With more than five people it is usually hard to get a consent on what route to take to the airport, thus, something is foul when nobody questions anything you are presenting.
They either didn’t listen, or they didn’t care, or they didn’t get what you were saying, whatever it was, undisputed consent should always raise a red flag.
John D. Rockefeller, who started out from humble beginnings to become the richest man of his time, surrounded himself not with yes-men but with critical thinkers and operated only by consent of his leading directors. This way he avoided major blunders and was thus able to grow his Standard Oil company to the biggest oil refiner in the world. And all that in the highly volatile years of the mid 19th to early 20th century.
What you want is strong opposition in your inner circle to make sure you can face the hard realities of your work’s existence in the outside world.
If you write a book, you want the reviewing processes to be painful to make sure all facts are right, and all errors are fixed. A software beta test during which not every button is pushed, not every possible user error attempted, and not every possible question is asked, is not a good test.
Constructive criticism helps you deliver a better product and do a better job.
*release the doves, turn on the rainbow*
Just kidding, that is not all.
Sure, you don’t want clients to be in trouble because you didn’t think of all eventualities. You don’t want your readers to be disappointed because your book is not as good as you wanted it to be. If you produce a car, your don’t want it to fall apart as soon as the buyer drives off the dealership. Let’s say all that doesn’t happen. Let’s say you deliver a flawless product. What remains to worry about?
We forgot the real test. The anti-reader, the anti-user, the anti-customer, the malevolent A##hole. (I am sorry, but there is no better word.) Let’s call him, User-Z.
What you should be worried about is that User-Z pulls your product apart, points out what your product could have been and subjects it to his most negative judgment.
Some may say you should not care about the one idiot who leaves a scathing review about your book without ever having read it, just because he doesn’t like the cover. User-Z will dislike whatever you do, so don’t pay attention they may say.
But I believe you should keep User-Z in mind. You really should.
Do the first review of your product for yourself, the next for your customer and the last for User-Z. Look at your product from the angle of someone who doesn’t want to like it. The point of view of someone who wants to tell the world how bad it is because some tiny detail that doesn’t fit.
I hope you understand that it is not about satisfying User Z, you never will. It’s about making the darn best product you can make.
Because quality always wins (eventually).