A while back I was flipping through an issue of Fast Company and I came across this brilliant piece of writing: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/162/from-the-editor-the-adrien-brody-rule. The author, the editor of Fast Company, talks about how they had to kill an idea for a cover, even though they had spend much resources on it, because it just does not fit the situation.
This happens far too often. Somebody on your team spends two hours designing a crummy logo, and now you are stuck with it because they spent two hours doing it. You spend five years of life studying Biochemical Engineering and then think you should find a career in that field (glad that wore off pretty quick for me). You spent one day crafting (what you think) was the perfect website design for your client and then you find out that your client hates it. The Adrian Brody rule simply says that sometimes all the work that you have put into something might come to nought if it does not meet the needs of the situation.
So two questions: Who determines the needs of the situation? and how do you use your resources more efficiently if the Adrien Brody outcome might be a possibility – because after all you put your resources there (you paid Adrien Brody) because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I think one good answer to that is to prototype early and often – put out rough work in front of your client, build a crummy prototype and use it as a way to understand the needs of the situation better.
Another thing – and this might be too touchy-feely is just your gut. I think we always have an internal compass that tells us when we are going forward with something just because we have invested time in it, or because we are investing time in it because that is only thing we want we want to go forward with – in the latter case there is belief and there is drive. So the counterpoint is that if I feel that Adrian Brody was absolutely the right man for the job (even if others felt otherwise) – I’d fight tooth and nail that he stays.