…or “good enough, move on” is an important concept to master in your career. It takes awhile to develop the judgment to understand which questions or activities are most important and then based on that ranking determining how much time and detail is required to complete them acceptably.
I often describe this as the difference between being “accurate” and being “precise”. Think about these examples:
If I’m responsible for landing the Mars Rover, I probably need extremely precise calculations to ensure accurate launch and trajectory of the delivery vehicle as well as incredibly detailed and accurate algorithms running the rover. Even then, I may be off slightly and blow the mission. This effort needs “precision”. Slight mistakes yield Very bad/or terminal consequences for an expensive mission.
If I have to determine whether a business opportunity is worth at least $100MM then the only thing I need to ensure is that I am comfortable that it is well over than. Whether it is $153MM or $210MM doesn’t matter based on the question we’re trying to answer. This needs ”accuracy”. I can be ”imprecise” by a lot and still be directionally accurate.
In the instance above, I determined that our 2-3 largest markets added up to more than $150MM. I was done. No need to understand the opportunity Turkey represents at the early stage when you’ve determined China and India get you there alone. In later development stages you’ll want more detailed information, but to answer the “100 million dollar question” we had enough information.
It is important to focus on getting to the necessary level of detail to adequately answer the question, but don’t waste your time going much further. Sometimes we get bogged down because we lose sight of what’s important. Other times we spend too much time on things we’re good at or like because we’re procrastinating and avoiding work we don’t want to do.
This does NOT mean be shallow in your analysis. A bad job is a bad job. It means understand how detailed you need to be to satisfy the needs of the situation. Also, don’t mistake this as advice to not produce decent charts or communication device. If your slide looks crummy, they’ll assume the analysis is.
This IS advice to use your judgment regarding time and effort. You can’t answer everything perfectly and most of the time you don’t need to.