Better, Faster, Cheaper: Pick Two, The Home Edition

I’m ridiculously late posting today because I’ve been balancing paying work with school and moving-related tasks. Tonight’s adventure was a solid lesson in “better, faster, cheaper.” Whether you’re purchasing IT equipment, procuring a large space system, or buying home appliances, you can usually pick only two out of the three.

The tradeoff between better, faster, and cheaper makes sense if you break it down a bit:

  • A product/service/system that is higher in quality and that can be produced in mass quantities quickly will not be cheap because that quality and productivity come at a price due to more expensive equipment or more skilled staff.
  • A widget that can be produced quickly and relatively cheaply will probably not have the highest quality because corners will likely be cut somewhere.
  • A gadget that has high quality and low cost will probably not come in quickly because it takes a lot more thinking and procedural steps to get right.

Keep these points in mind when you’re writing a proposal. Your organization will likely emphasize two out of three and offer mitigation steps for the third.

The home version of this happened to me this evening as I attempted to buy a new clothes washer, dryer, and refrigerator for my soon-to-be-new home. There are lots of low-cost brands of appliances available now that are made by companies I’ve never heard of–probably because they’re not terribly good. There are a few products out there that are available now and have good quality ratings (my father swears by Consumer Reports), but they aren’t cheap. And then there are some good-quality machines that aren’t as expensive, but they’re not available until October thanks to pandemic-related supply chain delays.

I ended up with Better and Faster, which of course meant that the machines I bought were not Cheaper. There are days I hate that equation.

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About Bart Leahy

Freelance Technical Writer, Science Cheerleader Event & Membership Director, and an all-around nice guy. Here to help.
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