At Behance’s 99% Conference this year, Seth Godin talked about “thrashing” and the tendency for everyone to weigh in on an idea towards the end of development - ultimately getting in the way of “shipping” the product on time. It is true that the uninvolved boss or marketing department suddenly swooping in last minute to change things is a nightmare. However, the reality is that people don’t become engaged until they need to.
Some of the most productive leaders we have interviewed suggest that their greatest realizations often come at very inconvenient times - often when it is almost too late to change. The reason is obvious: brain power is concentrated and more able to grasp the tangible outcome of a project only in the final stages. While the team may want to discourage any last minute changes, you will also want to capitalize and capture these insights.
Sometimes you will decide to take the suggestions into account for the next version of the product. Other times, you will want to embrace last minute changes. Companies like IDEO and others that rally around rapid iteration during product development are, in essence, creating many windows of last minute change. Some teams account for last minute changes by making the launch dates artificially early. Whenever the answers become clear, we must act on them.
But whatever you do, don’t discount last minute changes just because of the timing. If you have the patience and strength to deal with last minute change, you are likely to engage more people in a deeper way.
***Behance articles and tips are adapted from the writing and research of Scott Belsky and the Behance team. This article in particular was co-written with Michael Karnjanaprakorn of the Behance Team. Behance runs the Behance Creative Network , the Action Method project management application, the Creative Jobs List, and develops knowledge, products, and services that help creative professionals make ideas happen.