Meeting Consensus

An interesting thought came up at a lecture recently. It was stated that it is better for the ultimate design if everyone leaves a meeting slightly unhappy than if everyone is happy, or if one specific team always wins. Having never thought of this before, I was curious to the rationale. Once provided though, it made a lot of sense.

The reason behind this is simple. Say there is discussion between the designers and the programmers. If the designers always win, it was mentioned the code will suffer. Conversely, if the programmers always win and implement the easier method, the design will suffer. To expand beyond the lecture, I can see this happening for many reasons. To use the cliche, you lose the forest in the trees or the trees for the forest, whichever you prefer. A more imminent threat through is a loss of stake in the product. If your team finds they are consistently getting steamrolled into submission, the ideas that come out of the department will quickly suffer and the entire project will be of a lower value.

For this reason, I believe it is important to “air your laundry” so to speak when in a group dynamic so that negative energies do not build up to explode later. On the same note though, there must be compromise and the ability to move on once a disagreement has been aired, addressed, and reasonably solved. This will not only allow the design process to move forward but will also spur additional creative thought as all ideas are valid and there is no ultimate iron hand that makes all the final decisions.

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