Collaboration Leads To Half Finished Work

We all know that CommitteesLeadToHalfFinishedWork. Does that same apply every where else? This is something someone said in farce. However, why do so many collaborative projects end half-finished? Is it because of lack of ExtremeProcessManagement?

I would describe it the other way around, HalfFinishedWorkLeadsToCollaboration.

It should be noted that LeonardoDaVinci produced mainly HalfFinishedWork?. And to us, all (most?) of his works are better than most FinishedWork?. Ideas are inherently HalfFinishedWork?.

My half-finished personal project pile is pretty large. It's the stuff I collaborate on that tends to get finished. Sometimes that's just a matter of having more runners in a relay race, and sometimes it's by by virtue of greater combined creativity and brainpower. YMMV. -- DaveSmith

With good collaboration, you get synergy that yields a result greater than any individual could muster. Half-finished work is caused by other reasons, like expectations so high people lose motivation. In that case, more than one person on the team makes it easier to defocus the blame as the project shuts down.

                                | Finality is death.
                                | Perfection is finality.
                                | Nothing is perfect.
                                | There are lumps in it.


I find that I need collaboration in order to finish things. On personal projects, once I'm far enough into it that I've solved all the interesting problems, the project no longer holds interest and sits back in the pile until I can find some way of complicating it so that it is interesting again. Personal projects rarely DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork, because where's the fun in that? On collaborative projects, I have a responsibility to the other collaborators to curb my instincts to complicate, and to actually spend time on the boring bits. -- CharlesMiller
I resonate with the sentiments on this page, which leads then to a new conclusion: LowMotivationLeadsToHalfFinishedWork?. Collaboration usually increases motivation, because there's a greater chance that somebody in the group has a primary interest in finishing the task. It lends other motivations too, like impressing others with what you know. "Collaboration" of the kind that decreases motivation is collaboration by appearance only. I was recently assigned to a project on which the DBA group held the technology strings very closely and didn't want to collaborate. This may have looked like a collaborative project from a distance, but it was the opposite. It was dreadfully difficult to push this project forward an inch, and it finally vanished behind other more pressing business. An acceptable outcome. -- WaldenMathews
SourceForge seems to provide evidence for this idea (see HelpSourceForgeSuck). Since you can come and go on projects according to your whim, it's easy to leave before all the work is done. I think it's a type of SurvivalOfTheFittest. Crummy projects never get done. Really crummy projects never get started. I'll summarize some more findings later...
Some people are starters, some are finishers. I've learned to look for finishers and get them on my teams, because I am more of a starter. But finishers don't like to work on projects unless they think they can be finished, while starters don't worry about keeping the end in sight. So a group of starters will happily start a project, but unless the project attracts some finishers, it will probably never be finished.
This page touches on key perspectives linked to collaboration on practically any kind of project. It has been noted that collaboration can lead not only to work getting finished, but also to great enhancement of the work. It has also been noted that different people have different strengths (such as starters and finishers), and that if these people manage to cooperate, their projects can really go somewhere. Several "schools" of How-to-make-groups-work have come out of this kind of thinking - some of them even manage to scrape out a living by teaching these kinds of ideas to big companies.

I would like to present you with a couple of ideas: First - that being a starter or a finisher is linked to an intuitive quality linked to your personality and your tastes. Second - that starting and finishing as well as doing, doing-a-good-job and making-the-group-work are all elements of a collaboration which seem more important to some people and less important to others. The more of these perspectives which are present in a group, the better the group will work.

It's not that finishers and starters intuitively like the others' way of thinking, but experience (or someone very interested in making the group work) can open for a dynamic interaction which both benefit from. -- KarstenSørbye


perhaps, but it's the half that most people need/use.


C.f. StupidCollaborationKickoffMeeting, IncredibleShrinkingCommitment


My Dad, a builder and designer, always says "A finished house is a dead house". The same might apply to programming - if you really think your program is "finished", then it's perfect, and dead. It can't be improved upon, so it won't. And by the time you realise something's missing, someone else will have already done it.

The second half of this page

What? It's only half finished?


CategoryCollaboration

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