What did the 0 say to the 8? Nice Belt

Never let reality get in the way of a perfectly good theory.

- Bill Jetzer


Very strange word isn’t it? Iterate. I’m going to have to look up the etymology after I get done writing this, but I just discovered a professional motto that I would love to iterate. :)

“Iterate Relentlessly”

I’m reading a Whitepaper for Tableau, the data viz application, and the author made the below list of practices that can help minimize annoyances.

1) Unwrap your brain from the data.
2) Remove everything you can and nothing else.
3) Show your work. Iterate Relentlessly.

I have a few thoughts on number two being awkwardly phrased and number three actually being two unrelated points making the list four points instead of three, but that’s neither-here-nor-there. Iterate Relentless is a fantastically useful phrase for something that I just do.

I might even compare this to a rechargeable battery or the 80-20 Pareto principle. You can charge the first 80% very quickly, but you have to trickle charge the rest. In other words, 80% of the charge comes in maybe 20% of the time. On any project I’ve ever done, it always feels like 80% of the work is always done quickly but through relentless iteration, the last 20% takes the most time. And this is a good thing! New perspectives, ideas, people shedding new light on something already developed. You couldn’t get this frame of mind without having a project 80% done.

When I was working Dental Worksheets at LHI, we started with at a rapid pace and had a working worksheet in no-time flat. But the remaining months of the projects that were iterations of small improvements proved to be the best part. So much of the stability of the final product is due to those relentless iterations. Chuck R, who was instrumental in the project and is still with LHI told me that the VA Worksheets were never as robust as the Dental Worksheets we developed and were always compared to, but never reach, the standard that we set. This is due to relentless iteration.

My site here at benjaminbarlow.com is a product of relentless iteration, and here is completely different example. This site will never be “done”… well I lied, it’ll be “done” when I’m gone, but for the purposes of the story, it’ll never be “done”… I will always be developing something and in this case, it is vital to my current understanding of both design and development. If I didn’t have this to do, then my knowledge would be stagnant. I would have little reason to go search for different ideas and put them to use. And applying these ideas helps cement them for further retrieval.

So relentless iteration, a professional motto that I can take to heart.