05.18.20162 min read

Quantity vs. Quality

We all want to deliver high quality to our customers. But far too often, entrepreneurs fail to deliver anything of significant value because we let good get in the way of great. I’ve studied the quantity vs. quality problem for years in a variety of settings and I’ve come to the following conclusion:

It’s almost impossible to get quality without quantity.

Recently, I read a great story that illustrates why this is true.

A ceramics teacher told her students at the beginning of the year she was dividing the class into two groups. The first group would be graded on the quantity of projects completed. The second group would be graded on the artistic quality of their best piece. As you can imagine, those who were graded on artistic quality spent much of the semester thinking, designing, and planning. On the other hand, the students graded on quality cranked out ceramic project after ceramic project.

At the end of the semester, all were surprised to discover that the students who were graded on quantity also produced the ceramics with the highest artistic quality. It turns out the process of producing, learning, and iterating yields superior artistic quality than does the process of thinking and designing.

Please don’t get me wrong—I’m a big believer in planning and design. But most people tend to over-do the planning and design work because we are hesitant to deliver a product, put ourselves out there, risk being “wrong” or “bad.” There’s no such thing. We’re always learning and improving.

If you want quality (like I do), produce quantity… and you’ll probably get both. 

SBS Idea of the Day: Consider the projects you’re working on and find one that is moving slowly. Set a “hurried” deadline and complete that project, no matter how poor the quality is. Then plan some time afterword to learn, iterate, and create a “version 2 (v2).” And don’t forget: “v1 is better than vnone.”

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