No One Knows What they Want

I realized today that I made a common mistake. I took my CEO's direction to heart, assembled my team accordingly, and plowed full speed ahead with his requirements as our guide. 

We had our first meeting today to touch base on the progress of our projects. They were required to be released by the end of the year. The timeline was incredibly tight and I was concerned about the quality of the work because we had limited resources. I also didn't want to sacrifice research and prototyping time and build band aid solutions.

One of my colleagues presented a project that had a rough scope of one year. I pushed back, telling him his plans weren't within the requirements we agreed on. There was no way this could be done by the end of the year. 

To my surprise, the CEO loved it. He applauded my colleague for thinking big and he was excited about the project because it was much more impressive given it's larger scope.

Sheepish, I realized I screwed up once again by assuming that my boss knew exactly what he wanted. I assumed he thought about all the different scenarios and saw all the different designs we could create in his head. I thought these requirements were written in stone after lots of research and careful planning. I made way too many assumptions. 

It's common for people to think they know what they want simply because they can't imagine things being any other way. Sometimes it's because they literally can't see it. When they do, they have the potential to get really excited about it and even change their mind entirely.

I should have made the conscious decision to take his direction as a clue rather than a directive, presenting the best related solutions rather than only solutions that fit within his rigid framework.