All the dev team had after month of effort was a black triangle on a screen…but it was more than that.
Afterwards, we came to refer to certain types of accomplishments as “black triangles.” These are important accomplishments that take a lot of effort to achieve, but upon completion you don’t have much to show for it — only that more work can now proceed. It takes someone who really knows the guts of what you are doing to appreciate a black triangle.
When working on complex projects, the black triangle moment is always the high point for me; it’s when success occurs. Before you’ve got a framework built, there’s significant doubt about how the project will turn out, if can even be done. After you get that first little result through the whole maze and it’s clear how the whole thing will work, the rest becomes almost inevitable. (via migurski)
Updated: Actress Jenna Fischer wrote about hard-to-explain milestones in acting.
I remember one year my proudest moment was at an audition for a really slutty bar maid on a new TV show. It was written for a Pam Anderson type. I thought, “I can never pull this off. I just don’t have the sex appeal. I feel stupid. No one is going to take me seriously.” But, I committed to the role and gave the best audition I could. I didn’t get the job. I didn’t get a callback. But I conquered my rambling, fear-driven brain and went balls out on the audition anyway. That was a huge milestone for me — but hard to explain at Christmas.