The Devil is in the Detail

When you hear the quote “the devil is in the detail,” what immediately comes to mind? When I hear it, I immediately recollect back to projects that get hung up on the very end finishing touches.

Surely you have been in a similar situation before (as I think it happens quite often). You and your team are working on a project, feature, etc. and you get stuck on the very last step. This happens at school – in the workplace – on exams etc. These are the super little things that are of little to no significance to a bystander but all-too-often represent the difference between make or break.

Those are the devil – hiding in the detail.

I find it very easy to get caught up in these tiny, seemingly irrelevant things. And…I think a big flaw that I used to really carry with me – in my working attitude – is that I tended to haze over these little things in quest of the larger picture. My instinct was to go fast, make a few mistakes, and keep going.

Now, though, I find that “God is in the detail.” As much as the small stuff can be a big headache to deal with…I think the 1% breathes outsized returns. In other words, the little things separate the big things.

Details are important. Details are hard and most people want to skip them, but they are important because no one else does them.

They are the extra lap at soccer practice that gives you the extra edge.

Things are not perfect without details. And while not every product/project/thing must adhere to this strict standard – we must at least aim for it.

Why not is perhaps the more important question?

I think that Silicon Valley has taken perhaps too big of a bit out of the ship super fast and break things culture and forgotten that hard problems take time and that details often make all the difference.

Shitty MVPs are just shitty MVPs. Mediocre products are mediocre.