At some point we become so wrapped up our own idea that we don't notice the initial positive response has turned into a glazed look until it is too late (this happens just as often in social situations as it does in business!).
The timing of when we apply our tools and techniques obviously makes a difference as to their effect. The difference in cost between defects in requirements as opposed to released systems is well known.
Timing and achieving results are also part of the Taoist philosophy of wu wei - "effortless action" or "effortless doing". Wu wei is often associated with water and its yielding nature - picked up by Bruce Lee in his development of Jeet Kune Do - "be like water" and "economy of motion".
George Leonard also writes about keeping the flow of energy going during low moments as well as high. You can't hoard energy; you can't build it up by not using it. Thus keeping our systems and processes running smoothly and regularly is more effective than letting problems pile up.
Wider Benefits to Life
It is only... when emotion and intellect, hands and feet can meet the demands of the changing situation that a decision over life and death lies with oneself and not with the opponent.
-Chosen Shissai, 18 th Century Japanese Swordmaster
And yet we need to come back to fundamental question: why are we doing it at all? What are we doing to improve ourselves as well as our skills and our mastery? The Japanese concept of fudoshin describes a spirit of unshakable calm and determination, courage without recklessness, rooted stability in both mental and physical realms.
We all of us need to take hard decisions at points in life, and how we deal with these situations in particular can define us. And yet the everyday business of living, developing software and managing its configurations requires countless small decisions. If haven't thought of the wider picture, and of the principles that we are trying to embody, then the picture that evolves may be much less than its potential.
As mentioned at the start, this is a very wide topic, and can be fruitfully mined for many insights. We will save for future discussion areas such as Taoist thought, and Sun Tzu's The Art of War!
- FAQ for rec.martial-arts - http://www.faqs.org/faqs/martial-arts/faq/part1/
- "Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fullfillment" by George Leonard
- Jeet Kune Do, founded by Bruce Lee,
- Cheng Hsin, http://www.chenghsin.com/chmain.htm
- "Cheng Hsin: The Principles of Effortless Power" by Peter Ralston
- "Zen Body-Being" by Peter Ralston and Laura Ralston
- "Getting Things Done" by David Allen
- Wu wei - knowing when to act and when not to act: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_wei
- "The Magic of Conflict", by Thomas Crum
- Articles by Judy Ringer on conflict resolution using Aikido principles
- "Aikido & Conflict Resolution: What's the Connection?"