Good Enough and Expertise

Expertise is just a higher level of ‘good enough.’ Everyone has a good point. It is just higher if you are an expert at something. 

An expert and a novice have different expectations of the term ‘good enough.’ 

When a novice completes their work, they may feel that the results will satisfy the need, even if it doesn’t look elegant or work perfectly every single time. The novice has delivered a solution that they consider to be good enough. 

An expert looking at the same problem might implement the same solution, but their threshold for ‘good enough’ will be much higher. They might never choose to implement a solution that only works some of the time, or they may not want to implement a solution where the user interface is difficult to decipher. But even though the expert will stop at a different place, at some point, they will declare their results, ‘good enough’ and stop working on the project. 

The Continuum

Whether something is good enough is a subjective evaluation depending on where you are standing. A rickety ladder that you might climb down to rescue a child from a raging river might be good enough in the moment, but a working elevator that hasn’t had an inspection this month my give you pause. An artistic marketing campaign may be simply ‘good enough’ for Apple or Google, but a simple word-ad may be good enough for your small business. There is no better or worse of ‘good enough.’ If applied in the purest of ways, it is merely another way of saying, ‘I put my all into it.’


Perfection is the enemy of done. And perfection is a good-enough killer. When someone is striving for perfection, they could be looking for two things:

  1. They could be looking for a result that can never exist. They may be looking for the unblemished version of the product with no problems. A pristine solution is impossible. The world changes so quickly that when you complete your work and turn your chair to celebrate something, something is likely to change in a way that requires more work. 
  2. The person could also be looking to produce a result that is higher than their own ‘good enough’ standard. If the person is aware of the experts, and aware of the gap between their level of quality and the experts, they may want to do more than they can. You can solve this problem through more education, experience, and interacting with the experts. No-one should beat themselves up if they didn’t do what an expert can because everyone remains on the continuum of ‘good enough.’

Be comfortable with delivering ‘good enough’ products. Whether you are an expert or a novice, your delivery will be good enough.