Making no judgement about whether or not Bitcoin is a good investment, the following chart got me thinking about exponential growth, the Laws of Nature, and project success:


The graph overlays Bitcoin’s exponential rise on top of previous “bubbles”. One thing we can conclude from the graph is that, just like its predecessors, eventually the Bitcoin bubble will burst.

This next graph is a good representation of how Nature tends to deal with exponential growth:


Our markets, businesses and even our out-of-control projects can’t defy Nature for long. Things can’t go on growing exponentially forever. So, they don’t.

How much energy are your projects consuming in terms of manpower, employee morale, rework, client goodwill, etc.? There’s a good chance that if your project is poorly planned, you too will experience exponential cost growth at some point.

What to do? The only thing I’ve found that eliminates the potential for Bitcoin-like cost growth for an equipment-related project/business is to spend resources up front developing a sufficient plan prior to execution. The challenge has always been getting management (and client) buy-in to devote the time and resources up front. Even in an emergency shop repair, you can pause, pull the team together, and plan out the scope of work. One of the most successful (and most profitable) questions I’ve ever asked a client was: “Of these 20 must-have features you’ve just identified, what are the top 5 you can’t live without? Depending on what they are, we may be able to add more features in and still meet your deadline …”. I’m convinced if we had just charged off trying to incorporate the 20 features without prioritizing, we would have been dead. The customer was convinced too, and rewarded us handsomely when he got all critical features plus some nice-to-haves, all within his very tight deadline.

Racking and stacking priorities, assessing their viability, tweaking them and then making detailed plans–all of this helps eliminate the potential for exponential cost growth. And leads to project success.