Several years ago (ok, maybe it was more than that), as the exec in charge of an engineering department, I was discussing the power of iterative (Agile) software development with my boss – how much quicker, efficient, and cost-effective it is –  and he told me “I use iteration now in every area of my life!” That really stuck with me, and more and more I’ve adopted that practice as well. It is an amazingly powerful way to approach many personal and professional projects and can really amp up your productivity.

Iteration, at its core, is the process of repeating and refining a task or project through a series of incremental steps. The beauty of iteration lies in its adaptability, allowing us to make incremental progress, learn from mistakes, and iterate again until we achieve the desired outcomes. By embracing this mindset, we can unlock more of our potential and achieve remarkable results.

It is a lot like a pottery wheel, where the artist is continually passing over the same area as the clay rotates on the wheel, refining it with each pass as the finished product begins to take shape. The goal of each rotation (iteration) is not perfection, it is just to improve on the previous one.

Iteration encourages experimentation and welcomes failure as a steppingstone to success. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks; instead, learn from them. Each failed attempt brings you closer to finding the right solution.

Let me give you another example. I moonlight as a songwriter. When I have an idea for a new song, I first try to envision the overall structure of the finished song and try to quickly create a demo recording with placeholder arrangement and lyrics. I’ll listen to that for a few days, decide what I like and what I don’t like, and then begin iteratively adding chord changes, melodies, and lyrics – each time creating a demo of the song that I can listen to or play for someone else. I may go through a dozen iterations (or more), occasionally getting feedback from others, before I’m satisfied with the song and recording. It is a much faster, more powerful, and more effective process than waiting until the chords, melody, and lyrics are “perfect” before committing it to a recording.

Iteration enables us to continuously enhance our skills and abilities. Whether you’re a professional creating a presentation, a budget, a project plan, or personally learning a new language, playing an instrument, or developing a hobby, embracing iteration allows you to start small, practice regularly, and gradually refine your technique. By breaking complex tasks into manageable chunks and applying iterative feedback loops, you’ll experience steady growth and realize your goals more quickly.

#Iteration #ContinuousImprovement #AgileApproach #PersonalGrowth #ProfessionalSuccess