No Rough Drafts

About a year ago, Dustin (an all-time favorite colleague) decided he was done with rough drafts.

We were sitting in my office when a potential project came up. If it was going to happen we realized we needed to move fast. Typically, we would have scheduled a meeting that included the necessary parties (this means the meeting would have to be a few weeks out). One meeting would have become two, followed by a slog of follow-up and Google Docs

That day we asked, What if we just do it now?”

35 minutes later we were done.

“No rough drafts” has become one of Dustin’s mantra’s.

“No rough drafts means just do something instead of talking about it. It means take more risks before you schedule more meetings.”

Dustin Oprea

Rough drafts are often a form of playing it safe. We go slow, careful to include everybody in the nuancing of an idea.

A rough draft is an invitation to be passed around and edited by committee. Gross. Rough drafts too easily becomes the game of “can we all agree?”

“No rough drafts” is a way of thinking that says I’d rather test this than perfect it. When we had our project done, we immediately sent it to two test users. The feedback we got from them was more valuable than the theoretical input from a committee.

Perhaps rough drafting gets a better result. It definitely gets a slower result.

That day we decided: Worry about evaluation later.

Put it all out on the table and wondered out loud “how far can we get?

A few who weren’t invited had their feelings hurt. Some said thank you. Most barely noticed.

Next time, skip the rough draft.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: