JFDI

Just Effing Do It!

What a wonderful statement, that is. When you find yourself hesitating on a task… hey man, JFDI. If you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place… hey, JFDI to the rescue. While this is great, I’m pretty certain there hasn’t yet been a singular definition given for this mantra.

I’ve had a few individual discussions recently, with several WooThemes colleagues, on the meaning of JFDI and, ultimately, trying to find out what the phrase means to them. While JFDI can carry many different meanings for different individuals or companies, I thought I’d share mine, and how I feel it applies to what I do.


Get off the starting block

When you’ve got a great idea, or had a thought on how something could be improved, don’t stand with your foot on the starting block. The last runner to lift his or her foot off of the starting block, starts at the back of the race.

Cut out the red tape

Red tape isn’t necessary for every decision. If you spot a typo, fix it. If you want to give something a try (in a non-destructive manner) which may or may not work, don’t wait for someone else to cut the red tape before giving it a go. If it doesn’t work out, you probably spent a few minutes more than you should have. At least now you know.

Where to apply JFDI

The above sounds great. Do whatever you want, and screw any corporate nonsense. Not exactly.

JFDI, as I believe it to be, should apply at key positions in a project’s life cycle. The mantra itself carries with it an air of not wasting time, being efficient and maximising how effective the move is. JFDI-ing an entire project just isn’t efficient, nor is it effective.

A real-world example

In our more recent theme releases at Woo, we’ve been including video tours of our themes. These videos show off the theme, as well as craft an emotion around the experience of viewing, and using, the product.

These videos are the brain-child of one Rémi Corson, one of our awesome WooCommerce support technicians. Rémi enjoys taking videos with his GoPro camera, and clearly has a passion for video production. He spent a couple of hours, of his own initiative, and created the first video. No red tape. No nonsense. Just an awesome video, and a great new way to showcase Woo products.

Key success factors

There are a few factors which, I feel, make this an ideal JFDI example.

Time spent

Rémi spent a couple of hours on the first video. Instead of spending a whole bunch of time cutting through corporate red tape, he just made the video. BAM! Instead of 2 hours of emails and discussion, it was 2 hours of video production. Far more efficient and effective, I’d say.

Rémi also didn’t spend 3-4 days perfecting the video (as far as I am aware) before showing us. He spent the minimum amount of time he felt necessary to create the initial video.

Preserving context

At the end of the day, will a video tour help to sell the themes? Sure, I believe it will have a positive impact on sales numbers. Is it the be-all and end-all of the theme release and marketing plan? No, certainly not.

Instead of trying to re-think our entire theme release and marketing process, Rémi chose one aspect of the process which he felt could use improvement, coupled that with a personal passion and ran with that.

Don’t try and re-build the entire cart straight away. Pick one aspect of the whole and increase it’s awesomeness.

Knowing when to ask for approval/assistance

Nobody needs approval to experiment with a concept. If I want to, for example, remove more than a normal amount of the theme options from our Canvas theme, for example, I could branch off on the Git repository, make my changes and see how it goes.

It’s important to remember that discussion, assistance and ultimate approval of one’s proposal is important and necessary. At Woo, for example, the business consists of many moving parts, as well as many on-going decisions which are in the pipeline and easily impacted by other items which arise. Ensuring the appropriate planners/leaders/managers sign off on the ultimate result is key, to ensure the idea can be best slotted into the company’s grand plan.

Overall presentation

An idea, without vision, is a hallucination. – Thomas A. Edison

Presenting an idea, isn’t wrong. It’s just not effective. Everyone interprets ideas differently, and may not fully grasp your interpretation. Presenting an MVP (minimum viable product) of your idea, showing how you would interpret it, is far more effective in getting your point across. Having a prototype, so to speak, may also encourage further discussion and the generation of ideas, not always possible without a proof-of-concept.

Rémi spent a couple of hours on the initial video, as mentioned above. This, as I see it, was a small investment towards getting the idea green-lighted. If you’re truly passionate about your idea, JFDI and get a prototype together. If you have to spend some personal time to do it, that’s surely worthwhile and will go a long way towards getting your idea approved (it shows dedication, etc).

Where to fit JFDI into your workflow

As illustrated by the example above, JFDI works really well in getting an MVP out to the team. It also works really well for small elements of a larger project, where continuous improvement (a LEAN methodology) can be applied at a microscopic level, to encourage macroscopic change.

JFDI also fits really well at the end of a project, where we all end up wasting a whole bunch of time, if not kept in check. Stop tweaking and start shipping. JFDI! If the product is 100% working, ticks all the boxes on your objectives list and is as bug free as you can get it (we can’t always spot all bugs on the first try), just ship it. If it’s ready and not shipped, it’s sitting in your inventory gathering dust. JFDI and make further improvements later. Your customers will certainly appreciate the continuous improvement on the product more than their distain for any small bugs which crept into version 1.0.0.

A quick JFDI summary

  • Focus on your MVP
  • Be realistic about your time spent- be efficient
  • Spend a few minutes considering your objective
  • MVP = done > perfect
  • Choose a part of the whole and increase it’s value, rather than focussing on the whole
  • Once done, showcase your MVP to the exact folks who you need to green-light your idea, to avoid any red tape

I hope you all find this to be a useful reference. This is how I apply JFDI in my daily workflow and, frankly, it’s worked pretty well thus far. Keep it up, stay true and JFDI!

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  • Mike

    Nicely framed and contextualized which is necessary in the successful implementation of concepts like this. I’ve seen JFDI interpreted a bit more aggressively on several occasions causing more harm than good. Thanks for sharing :)