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But if something is too visible, or too scheduled, many big ideas will be shied away from, many projects won't even start. I suspect this is one major reason Google's 20% time is so productive (50% of new Google products started in it, and if you consider that a large proportion of other products are acquired, it starts to sound like a pretty big deal). In the earliest, nascent phases of project development, you don't always have good justifications for what you're doing, or much to show. Projects, like companies, are at their most fragile at this time and the random perturbations and throttling from following a fixed methodology may kill them.

Mostly, while we should recognize what we gain having teams more closely manged, scheduled, with greater visibility and contact, we should also recognize what we lose. Balance is important, but I think there's a different optimal point for every market, company, and project, and every executive or engineer.

One important, crucial example comes from PayPal. Max Levchin went dark for a year, and came up with the something that really mattered -- a way to fight fraud. But there were hypothesis galore. I'm not sure this work would have been done any other way.




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