How often have you seen this occur in your organization? You’ve got an incredibly demanding project underway with tight milestones and schedules. There are many, many elements to the project, yet you’ve got people who are spending their valuable time and effort in building the best and most perfect “mousetrap” in the world, when a perfectly acceptable “mousetrap” is available that does the job in a fully satisfactory fashion and is readily available and useable as is. What’s more, the “mousetrap” is one of the most minor elements of the project and one of the least critical to the project’s success. Yet try as you might, and despite repeated requests, demands, and threats, every time you turn around some of these people are back to polishing their “mousetrap” (also known as "polishing a turd"). These are good people, but they just can’t see the big picture. They’re picking the flyshit out of the pepper!
Here’s another example. You’ve received reports of major problems with your most popular and best selling product, and more and more customers are calling in to complain about this problem. It’s time for “all hands on deck” to find the source of the problem and get the fix back out to the field as quickly as possible. Your people are able to quickly find the major root cause of the problem and have a fix identified and ready to go. However, in the course of identifying the cause, they’ve uncovered another very minor problem that can occur in very rare circumstances, but they can’t seem to find a solid fix to this rare problem. They are unwilling to release the major fix until they fix this rare problem, and customers are getting quite angry. Again, they’re picking the flyshit out of the pepper! They can’t seem to recognize that they need to stop the bleeding now (triage) and come back later to fix the minor, non-critical nuisances.