Recently I was a part of a discussion on what has more value: Actual time or relative time. I recognized that relative time is important throughout the conversation, but I fell back to “actual” having the most value.

I reason that the term “relative” is not absolute. It is something that cannot be measured or compared. “Time flies” or “OMG, this is taking too long” are two general comments people say about how they feel. There is no way to measure that.

Part of the argument of where there is value is when doing the work, and it is something that everyone likes doing time will feel like nothing. We have all been there; whether it is related to work or personal hobbies, it feels great that you get what needed to get done, and it felt like it took a mere fraction of the time it took. It is valuable that the energy spent on the tasks did not feel wasted when you look at it that way. Yet that value is only realized by the person or team that did it—no one else.

The value there is realized when the product or feature is available. That time is valuable, for the organization not for the customers. That anticipation for the product builds excitement and additional publicity they don’t have to pay for. For clients or customers waiting for that next big release or product, it could feel like forever for that release date would be, as one of my old university friends used to say,  “slower than molasses in February.”

Maybe I was wrong in my original thought as I re-read my examples. When I looked at this subject, I thought of overall value and did not break it down further. My thoughts were based on overall value and initially, what matters is real-time, deadlines, and progress. I looked at it from a quantitative viewpoint because I thought the qualitative view was too wide open for interpretation.

Unfortunately, I cannot change what I said during the SPaMCAST recording, and I am still up to discussing this more as it is a subject that could value more views and ideas. Now that I had time to think through this post, I discussed both sides of the argument and am intrigued by where you sit.

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