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  • Writer's pictureShannon Lantzy

If it is important: record it, ship it, repeat it

We often think we communicate critical points effectively during meetings and conversations, only to find out that the communications failed (after it's too late). To mitigate, record the important conclusions, publish, restate, and repeat.


Last month there were contractors working on my kitchen under-cabinet lighting. We chose Philips Hue Lightstrips*, which come with transformers and no hard-wire option. In turn, this meant we needed to be creative in the installation to make it all work. Here were my (unwritten, but stated) requirements:

  1. Elegant solution

  2. Beautiful, near-invisible design

  3. Easily maintainable in case of product failure

  4. Revertable, in case we or future owners want to revert to more conventional hard-wired lighting with single switches for the whole kitchen

  5. Adherent to code and electrical conventions

At several points in the design process, we considered reverting back to a regular fixture, because the Hue transformer was too bulky, and installing receptacles would cause issues. But we persisted, refining the design repeatedly to satisfy the above requirements. I kept pausing the process when we hit a snag until we got to a solution that I felt satisfied all the requirements. Sometimes this required rework. I felt confident that all my requirements were communicated and that the final installation would be fantastic.

Nope, during the final installation, I had stepped away for a meeting. When I returned, I had a beautiful completed install...except that one cord was in the wrong place. It was elegantly hidden behind the wall (Requirements 1 and 2), but impossible to remove and replace (failing Requirements 3 and 4). Whoops. This failure required rework, again.


No matter how simple the job is, if the results are important, the key requirements are worth writing down.


~Shannon, the Optimistic Optimizer


* I'm not getting any ad revenue or incentives for this post.

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