Pick which of these three elements is or should be highest priority

Which of the following elements in this list is, or should be, the highest priority?


We’re speaking in an abstract sense, here. Pretend a loaded gun is pointed at your head, and you have to pick one, without further context. Or, supply some arbitrary context that is important to you. Or, bitch about my not providing context in this thread. Whichever.

Yes, I know these do not operate 100% independently of each other. Deal with it.

Poll incoming. Please be patient as I wrestle with all possible options.

I’ve had jobs where I worried about the quality or quantity of my work, but I’ve never needed to worry about punctuality because I’m always on time.

Quality, almost every time.

Quantity. Better eating cheap food than starving. Better drinking dirty water than dying of thirst.
And never mind the qualities of the people inhabiting the Earth. Let’s keep the quantity in check to avoid catastrophe!

Being an abstract poll, I definitely picked punctuality. I don’t care how high-quality your merchandise is if you are delivering it two weeks late.
…That sounded vaguely dirty.

I picked quality. Abstractly, but also, for myself, as a general rule, it’s more important to do the work as well as possible, than it is to do a lot of it, or necessarily get it all done on time. Not that those things aren’t also important from time to time.

But you do care about it being on time if it’s utter shite?

Quality, for sure. Punctuality really isn’t something that I, personally, care about all that much. I care about it only when other people that matter to me, either because they’re friends/family or they sign my pay check, care about it. Obviously, missing a deadline by a lot for a small difference in quality isn’t worth it, but generally I’m a perfectionist and will definitely favor missing a deadline over providing a product I’m not proud of.

Similarly for quantity. Sure, there are certain things where there’s a minimum or maximum, but generally I’d rather have less than I’d like but have it really good than get a bunch of meh stuff. Many of my favorite musicians/bands can take several years to put out an album, but given a choice between getting a bunch of their lower quality stuff or less of their highest, I’ll take the latter every time. Even for food, other than not getting enough to survive on, I’d rather have higher quality food, which means both better tasting and more healthful and be a little hungry, than the other way around.

How does that follow? If Punctuality is my highest priority, how does it follow that the other two are not a priority at all?

Punctuality (deliver the product when I need it)
Quality (deliver the product how I need it)
Quantity (deliver as many of the products as I need)

Punctuality and Quality are very close on the scale, maybe almost equal. Sure, I don’t want your shoddy product, but let’s take for example: I used to work in a flooring wholesaler. Contractors are busy people, and when they have set aside time to do someone’s floor, they want the product there THEN. Not late but perfect, but on time, otherwise, their entire schedule gets put back.

You mentioned quality versus “two weeks late.” I just turned that around.

ETA: no need to argue. I see your point.

Without any other context, I put quantity.

There are certainly items and situations where this is not the chief criteria, but most of the time, I think of it it this way: Punctuality and quality are not so important until we reach a specific threshold of “too late” or “too bad.” While those cut-off points are critical, I’m not so worried about quality or punctuality that exceeds the minimum. I just need enough. Quantity, on the hand, is very rarely a case of “too much.” If your buy-one-get-one sale turns into buy-one-get-ten, I’m stocking up! Exceptions apply, of course.

Quality, as by the definition I normally use it includes anything else you can think of (“customer satisfaction” or, if you prefer a longer version, “adequacy to actual needs at an appropriate price”).

In people, punctuality.

In things, quality.

Without any context, good goo is hard to find.

With sex: quality over quantity any day. No need to “get there” in a hurry, hence punctuality is not important. :smiley:

Quality. At least with quality, whatever it is, I know that no matter how much I get, sooner or later I’ll enjoy it.

Never move to Argentina.

This is a well known triangle in consulting. You can have it fast, cheap or done well. Choose any two the third will suffer.

With no further context, it has to be quality for me. I’m happy to wait for something if I know it’s good. In contextless situations that do not involve deadlines or anything like that, I’d rather have a high quality item be late than an okay quality item be on time. As for quantity, that’s the least important for me.

A great, high-quality novel can propel an author to fame in a way that a thousand shoddily written novels can’t.