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Work is like a hill

I’m sick of the The double diamond model. A better metaphor to describe the plight of the average, overworked, over-meetinged knowledge worker comes from Basecamp: Work is like a hill.

Every piece of work has two phases. First there’s an uphill phase where you figure out your approach. You have a basic idea about the task, but you haven’t figured out what the solution is going to look like or how to solve all the unknowns.

Eventually you reach a point where there aren’t any more unsolved problems. That’s like standing at the top of the hill. You can see clearly all the way down the other side. Then the downhill phase is just about execution.

Certain product managers, most executives, and other Enneagram type threes hate the uphill part of the hill. It’s ambiguous. There are no clear tasks. It’s so nebulous. They want to see Checkmark Progress and will fight you every step of the way.

Your role, dear creative knowledge worker, is to trick such folks into thinking that the ambiguity is not there and that you’re making real progress, when in reality you’re surrounded by mist. That’s the job, folks.

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