By Peter Zakrzewski, Producer
I’ve got a challenge. Let’s see if we can go a week without using the four letter word. It’s not the one that may spring instantly to mind. Unless someone’s got their kids in the office these words can be useful for blowing off some steam from time to time. I mean just. I hear it all day long in the office from co-workers, clients and even myself. It’s a useless word. It adds nothing to a conversation, “We just need to change...”, “Can you just create a...”. Why do we say it? Just won’t make a task simpler, faster or more fun to do. Just isn’t going to trick me into grossly under quoting your job or help me get it done faster.
I had reservations about laying down this challenge. Maybe I was being too sensitive. It’s just a word right? That was until I read Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of 37signals and makers of Basecamp. They believe just is a word “you should never use in business”. They’ve got a few others too, they are need, must, can’t, easy, only and fast. “They are red flags that introduce animosity, torpedo good discussions, and cause projects to be late” is their stance.
I can’t remember ever looking at a lessons learnt document for a project and seeing “use of the the word just” as a the cause of a project being delivered late. Just doesn’t hit a project like a bombshell, it’s more subtle, it’s an attitude that we bring to every task, every conversation, every brief, every email. Like the other above-mentioned four letter words it chips away at a project constantly until you get to completion and you find you’re a month past your deadline, or what you’ve delivered isn’t great, it's just good enough.
This week let’s leave just out of the workplace, call it how it is and get on with creating great work.