Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.

If there is one thing that makes me immensely proud to be a part of idibu, its the way we have so often punched above our weight. While we don’t perceive ourselves so much as as a job poster anymore, the fact is we have had to compete against the might of players like Broadbean – well funded beasts with huge development and sales teams… and lil’ old us.

I love it.

We’ve been a mainly bootstrapped company, bar a small investment from our partners Daxtra a few years ago and a very recent Benula relationship. It gives you advantages as well as disadvantages. We’re nimble, we’re client intimate, we’re independent.

But recently I’ve seen how this has negatively affected our real productivity as a business.

The “slow is smooth, smooth is fast” concept likely has its origins in the Military. Within that context, moving fast (or rushing it) is reckless and can potentially be fatal. However, if you move slowly, carefully and deliberately, you’re actually moving as fast as you can without needlessly increasing the risk on your life.”(source)

In the last 18 months we have been working on the new idibu platform – and it has been push! push! push! to market. We need to get ahead of the competition. We have our vision, we believe we’re unique. What if the competition imitate us? They have more funding? They have a bigger team? Move fast, move fast!

You don’t need to go through life huffing and puffing, straining and redfaced. You can get 95% of the results you want by calmly putting one foot in front of the other” (source)

In any software business where nothing stays still, you can argue that this is the norm. Constant change. But in the last couple of months we realised that the pursuit of more too quickly was affecting how well we looked after our current clients. Not that we ignored them. Just that the prioritisation in the pursuit of progress was actually creating more work. More bugs, more reactionary time spent stamping out fires – its classic poor productivity that means you end working in the Stephen Covey Quadrant 1 area (more on that in a future blog) focussed only on the “Important and Urgent” tasks, stopping you getting your work done in the right way. The way where you have time to make the right decisions, not stamp out fires.

Because “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.” Its a key methodology that on the face of it makes no sense, yet is key to increasing output, by more carefully checking the route along the way – taking more time to checkin with your clients and that your team are happy, that they are productive too. It decreases stress and permits better decision making.

I think the latest idibu system has led where the market is going, and we’re positioned for continued growth in the years to come. But now its time for us to re-invest back into that client intimacy and quality, to take stock and remember this is a marathon and not a sprint.

And “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast” isn’t just about software development. Its about how you plan your day. How you select the prospects you’ll talk to, taking the time to engage with the right candidates. Playing it cool by creating space and time.

In the lessons we’ve been learning about how we can improve the delivery of new features from idibu, I think there are great lessons that can be applied to all areas of productivity at work and at play.

Do you feel you’ve lost control? How do create space to properly plan your day? Can you increase your speed by slowing down?

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