Good Enough!

by Krantcents · 33 comments

Post image for Good Enough!

The principle of good enough (POGE) only works for software!  It is a rule for software and systems design which favors quick and simple design because it evolves as needed based on user requirements.  I sometimes hear my students say they have good grades until I question them.  It turns out it was just good enough!  When does good enough make sense for you?

In a classroom, good enough may be passable or is it?  Do you want a doctor who just did good enough in school?  I know I don’t!  The problem with this kind of thinking is there are no limits.  It can be a future doctor, engineer, nurse or a variety of other careers.  If the people who perform good enough would charge accordingly, I might go along with it.  A good enough haircut is worth how much?  Too often, products and services meet a very low standard such as a low price.

When a car is good enough, does it mean it is safe?  It has to follow federal and state safety standards, but it does not have to last or provide value.  At one time a Volkswagen was a great economical car.  It was very cheap and gave you value for the price.  I don’t think it was ever made with the concept of good enough.  I think they aimed at a very inexpensive car for a particular price.  It grabbed the market just like the Japanese cars of today.

Simple solutions to problems are not necessarily good enough.  Steve Jobs built a business based on the model of simplification of technology.  He made technology more accessible to many, although it was never the cheapest solution.  The products or services easy to use and made it more accessible to all.  His efforts helped make the personal computer reach a broader audience.  Do you think good enough ever entered into his thinking?

Good enough may be appropriate in some instances.  If you r goal is to develop a stripped down tablet or laptop computer with very few features for a low price, good enough may work.  This very simple device may be appropriate for an emerging market where accessibility to technology is severely limited.  The goal is not good enough, but a low price.  The lower price suddenly means that more people can access the product that were previously could never have it.  This is true with other products in an emerging market.  We call that meeting your market’s needs!

If your product or service is really good versus good enough, it will sell itself.  If you produce a product or service that is a low price and creates value for the consumer, it is a win/win.  Do you think that McDonalds started their business to produce food that was good enough?  They concentrated on the food delivery process to make the food consistent and cheap.  They also worked on the French fries to make them really good and cheap.  Good enough never entered into their thinking.

Good enough may enter into your thinking, when you want to grab lunch and only have a couple of dollars.  A McDonalds $ 1 meal may make sense.  If your budget cannot handle the higher expense of getting the best product or service, good enough is the only choice.  Not everyone can buy a Mercedes or the million dollar home, but a less expensive car or home may be just good enough.  I certainly do not need the best of the best to satisfy my needs, but I want the best product or service I can afford to solve my particular need.

Final Thoughts

We make choices all the time based on budget, means or value.  That is a question of satisfying your needs based on your personal judgment and budget.  If your effort in your career, life or personal relationships is just good enough, you will be disappointed!  Setting low goals may affect how much you achieve.  Goal setting is supposed to stretch your limits and increase your performance.  Good enough is just good enough!

Photo by:  Bnalities


Y and T’s Weekend Ramblings at Young and Thrifty
Yakezie Carnival at My Family Finances
Carnival of Retirement at Finance Product Reviews
Carnival of MoneyPros at Vanessa’s Money

Good enough is just good enough!Photo by:  Bnalities

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Lance @ Money Life and More November 29, 2012 at 6:36 am

Good enough is something I use when purchasing items. If I always went for the best or highest quality I would have been broke from the start!

Krantcents November 29, 2012 at 6:53 am

I usually buy the highest quality item at a discount! I think I stopped paying retail years ago.

JW @ AllThingsFinance November 29, 2012 at 7:16 am

I see this type of attitude all the time at work. So many people are willing to do the minimum possible to just get by. Unfortunately, many companies do not deter this type of behavior by allowing it to continue.

Krantcents November 29, 2012 at 7:27 am

The behavior is condoned by doing nothing! When I worked for a Fortune 100 company, excellence was expected and encouraged. Anything less was not tolerated even by your peers.

Money Beagle November 29, 2012 at 8:39 am

Reminds me of the joke, Q: What do you call the person who graduated last in their class in medical school? A: Doctor.

Krantcents November 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Very true, but do you want that doctor to operate on you? All doctors must pass state boards to become licensed, so there is a minimum standard. I still prefer the smarter ones to care of me.

John@MoneyPrinciple November 29, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Good enough is a cop-out that explains why many businesses fail IMHO. There are only two places to be – at the top doing the best or at the bottom selling the most. The rise in the mediocre is a curse promoted by bean counters and efficiency targets where no responsibility is taken for soddy products. Of course where you are talking about grades in class, you risk failing completely with the latter procedure.:)

Krantcents November 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Apple is an example of not being satisfied with good enough and people wait to buy every new product. There will always be a market for the mediocrity, but hopefully a diminishing market.

Brent Pittman November 29, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I believe you should always strive for excellence, but at some point you have to stop and ship the product to market whether it is the next version of a product or an article you’ve been writing. Be excellent, but not afraid to put your work out to market to have it tested and possibly fail.

Krantcents November 30, 2012 at 6:59 am

Everyone’s definition of good enough is different, however I buy the best I can afford. We can all improve our work, products and services.

Terry November 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Excellent article.

I like Brent’s point that in some cases you do have to draw a line and say that’s as good as we can do given the resources that we have.

In my case, I have to draw that line when I am in the process of writing a book. It could always be better if I did a just little more editing, but at some point it I realized that it has cooked long enough and has to be served up.

Krantcents November 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I agree, not every car is a Mercedes because you have to sell it at a lower price. Although when it comes to service and th eprice is the same I want the best service vs. good enough.

Maggie@SquarePennies November 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I have a “good enough” standard for everyday cleaning. I can do a more in depth cleaning periodically, but I have too much to do to give all of my time to that level of clean.

For most other things, I prefer to do things well. It just feels good to give your full effort!

Krantcents November 30, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Cleaning along with a few other things, good enough is okay. The extra effort does not yield an appreciable results.

Kim@Eyesonthedollar November 30, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I am a chronic overachiever in most of the things I do. It did well for me in school as far as getting into the schools I wanted and getting scholarships. In the real world, it is hard to be excellent when the person you are trying to help is looking for good enough. Some appreciate the extra effort and sometimes it is wasted. I have learned over the years to better differentiate between the two, but get burned sometimes. However, from my daughter, I would never accept good enough if it wasn’t her best effort.

Krantcents December 1, 2012 at 8:35 am

I identify with the overachiever syndrome, but you need an environment that will appreciate it. When I worked for a Fortune 100 company, they never would accept good enough. I had high standards for my children too and it paid off. They are very successful adults.

Holly@ClubThrifty December 1, 2012 at 9:54 am

I use this principle when I am purchasing things that aren’t really that important to me. Some items are “good enough” and don’t require me spending more in order to get the nicer model!

Krantcents December 1, 2012 at 10:03 am

There are many things that are good enough, but they should be appropriately priced. For example store brand food makes sense to me.

Financial Samurai December 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I agree with POGE for sure. Launch it when it’s good enough, and work on making it better over time!

Krantcents December 1, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Working with software, I always get annoyed when they are lots of patches. Maybe it is a matter of perspective regarding good enough vs. just get it out there to beat a competitor.

Darwin's Money December 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm

My wife and I fight over this all the time. I bang out a lot of stuff both at work and around the house – but I’m not a perfectionist. I “get it done”, but not always perfect. My wife is the type to keep cleaning something forever, or re-write an email 4 times until it reads just right, but IMO, doesn’t get as much done. Granted, sometimes, my home fixes aren’t the “perfectionist” crafty husband up the road, but I get a lot done – and have 4 different jobs btw W-2, blogging, landlord, outsourcing business. A typical perfectionist who spends 2 hours cleaning his tractor every time he mows the lawn simply doesn’t have time for all the stuff I get done on the side.

Krantcents December 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm

“Good enough” is individual! For my mom, good enough exceeded everyone’s idea of perfection, however it was not true for everything she did. She was a very ordinary if nt terrible cook, but she never spent much time at it. She was extraordinary at handicrafts and could make anything. Her cooking on the other hand was purely to keep herself from starving. I imagine Steve Jobs idea of good enough was beyond most people’s capabilities.

Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals December 1, 2012 at 5:51 pm

POGE is something I never really consider – then again, I’m a type-A perfectionist, so I tend to go to the other extreme, for better or for worse!

Krantcents December 2, 2012 at 7:17 am

Although I am not a perfectionist, I strive for excellence. I find my definition for good enough is higher than others. Good enough is individual!

Kris @ Everyday Tips December 2, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Good enough drives me insane. I actually just had a long talk with my oldest son about how the competition is so great out there that you absolutely must stand out from the crowd. I don’t want to over pressure him, but he tends to have a somewhat lazy attitude toward certain things, and he needs to understand that won’t cut it in the real world. At least not the real world he would like to magically appear in.

Krantcents December 3, 2012 at 6:45 am

Sooner or later maturity kicks in and he will realize it. Keep modeling the right behavior.

Lena @ WhatMommyDoes December 2, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I seem to be in good company here. The concept of “good enough” wasn’t something I ever knew or practiced until I married my husband. I’ve always been a perfectionist to a fault. It allowed me to be a victim of “analysis paralysis” at work (which isn’t good when you’re a tax accountant!), and it kept me from finishing projects at home. I always worked late trying to get everything “just so” and never rarely felt satisfied with completed home projects because they didn’t fulfill my vision of perfection.

My husband taught me to let go of my need to be perfect and take myself less seriously. In doing so, I found that others were perfectly fine accepting MY version of good enough. In a way, I feel like I was getting away with something when I adopted this outlook. Now, that’s how I live my life, and I’m much less stressed out than I used to be!

That being said, as a person who struggles to NOT push myself to perfection in everything I do, I don’t understand the reasoning of those who are perfectly fine with barely good enough.

Krantcents December 3, 2012 at 6:52 am

“Good enough” is an individual thing. Your good enough is probably superior to another. I am a big advocate of just doing your best without going nuts. I took some classes where I only needed a “C” for reimbursement, but I couldn’t adjust my effort and got all A’s. One of the reasons was I took the classes with colleagues and I am a competitor.

Kathleen, Frugal Portland December 3, 2012 at 9:28 am

I work for a software company, and very much dislike the good enough philosophy anyway — even here! I get that we need to ship it when it’s 80% but then we need to fix bugs!

Krantcents December 3, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I worked for software companies in the past as an employee and consultant. I never did understand the philosophy either.

Hunter December 4, 2012 at 5:36 am

Salient points Kc. Your posts always have me questioning my own decisions, goals, and satisfaction with life. I often ask myself whether I’m ‘leaning’ into life…thanks to you.

Krantcents December 4, 2012 at 6:52 am

I met my goal! When I write I hope to either create discussion or give you something to think about. Thanks, I love the feedback.

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