Almost every project I’ve ever worked on has faced challenges or delays at some point. Often, the assumptions we make at the beginning of the project turn out to be wrong, or we create what we thought would be the right solution and discover that it doesn’t work. Finally, we reach a place where we have evaluated, reevaluated, and made difficult decisions in the face of impending deadlines. The enthusiasm we had when the project began has been eroded by the collective disappointments and frustrations we faced along the way. We now have a limited time to finish and a limited amount of energy to finish with. This is the phase of a project I call “The Final 10%” and it’s the difference between average and great.
At this point, it’s easy to take a “just get this thing finished” approach without realizing it. When you’re worn out, it’s hard to realize that you aren’t giving your all because everything feels daunting. But if you’re well-prepared for the Final 10%, you aren’t tired at the end of the race, you’re energized. You knew there would be obstacles along the way and you were ready for them. You used setbacks as fuel, as a way to get even more excited about transforming the initial ideas you had into something more powerful than you could foresee at the beginning. With this approach, the Final 10% brings out your best. You see it as an opportunity to apply everything you’ve learned along the way to create something great in the time you have left.