Embrace Your Limits

Christine Benson

Sometimes I get bogged down in what can't be done on a project: limited technology, tight timelines, organizational challenges, etc. These things are frustrating. Frustrations are distracting. Distractions keep work from getting done.

Here's the deal—every project has limitations. That needs to be seen as a good thing. Limitations create problems. Solving problems equals successful experiences. Successful experiences equal happy businesses and users.

Include time early in your project process to uncover as many limits as you can. Missing a constraint can result in wasted time and work, creating additional limitations that you didn't anticipate.

Once you've identified all the pain points you can, decide what you're going to do with them.

Here are three options that will keep you and your team moving forward:

Accept the limits.

Some things are what they are. Everyone has a budget. Legal reviews are non-negotiable. Immovable limits are a source of frustration for everyone, but repeatedly pointing them out has the unintended effect of lowering morale. Focus instead on what you can change.

Ignore the limits.

I love the movie Clue for many reasons, one of which is the introduction of red herring into my vocabulary. Don't be distracted just because something is frustrating. Ask yourself: What would I do if it was different? Or gone? If there's no change to the final outcome, then ignore it and move on.

Challenge the limits.

"Because I said so" was the bane of my childhood. I didn't accept it then, nor do I accept it now. Ask why not—and listen to the answers. Make sure something is actually a limit and not just a habit.

So, embrace your limits. If you need to, take a moment to complain to a sympathetic ear. But do it quickly and be done with it. And when it's all over, celebrate what you've overcome.