I love to cook, and often do so without the encumbrance of a recipe. When enhanced by just the right blend of spices, common ingredients like broth, carrots, and rice can temporarily transport me and my family to shimmering Mediterranean beaches or steamy Asian rain forests.
I must admit to getting carried away at times—spinning the spice carousel a bit too far. I’ve learned the hard way that even the smallest pinch of rosemary can overpower a sauce, lime zest turns sour in the heat, and sage doesn’t play well outside of the stew. When confronted with the overwhelming number of possible flavor combinations awaiting me in my spice cupboard, I sometimes make poor decisions.
The same thing can happen at the office. Your options at the beginning of every new project, like the tools and processes used by the team and the number of stakeholder reviews, are spices with distinct flavors. Adding too much process can cause workflows to seize. A stakeholder with an agenda and a strong personality can tip feature sets too far in one direction.
After suffering through some seriously unappetizing meals, I’ve learned that it’s best to start with a small number of spices yielding proven flavor results, and to test the addition of each new spice on just a sampling of the sauce. I’ve found these techniques transfer well to the office. For example, it’s a good idea to test new combinations of team members, processes, and even work environments during pilot projects before taking them mainstream. While it’s tempting to “cook without a recipe” on a new project in hopes of achieving a breakthrough, don’t forget the fundamentals. Limit your options, test new additions, and never, ever mistake cayenne pepper for chili powder.
Bon Appetite!Franny Fried
Well put, Franny.
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