How the Porsche 911 Design Reminds me to Ship.

by Josh Miles

I’m addicted to the BBC TV series, Top Gear. I’m not sure if it’s the dry humor, the amazing cars, or simply the British accents that make the show so delightful. Whatever it is, I’m addicted.

Last week I watched a rerun of this 2007 episode, featuring the Porsche 911 GT3: a stripped down, no-frills, raw power, sports car.

Starting at 1:45 in this segment, host Richard Hammond explores what a “daft” idea it is to design a car with an engine in the back. Yet after 40+ years of designing 911s, German engineers and designers are showing no signs of moving the engine forward.”It’s like building a pyramid with the pointy bit at the bottom… that should be rubbish.”

As Hammond notes, “German engineers don’t do u-turns, so it’s still out there in the back. Wherever it is though, what an engine!

Although the 911’s rear-engine seemed like a stumbling block, it didn’t negatively impact the Porsche’s performance or design at all.

For me, this was a huge epiphany.
And a little freeing.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I want every detail to be perfect before I “ship” anything.

Our firm uses tools like Basecamp, Google Docs, and more, to catalog our processes and communicate with our clients. It’s easy for me to get caught up in the imperfection of what the to-do lists look like, or that they aren’t color-coded the way I might like. And while the perfectionist in me sees these types of things as “problems,” they’re actually more akin to the engine in the back of a Porsche.

If this is freeing for you and your team too, keep these things in mind:

  • Identify tools and processes that help move you forward.
  • Design within your proven processes, and don’t let them slow you down.
  • Ignore the imperfections of any “rear-engine” issues.
  • Watch more British television.


What are the rear-engine problems in your organization? How can you design and innovate around them? Please share your ideas below.

Tags: ,

Josh Miles

Principal & Founder

Josh Miles is a caffeine and twitter addict, and the author of Bold Brand - The New Rules for Differentiating, Branding, and Marketing Your Professional Services Firm. Josh’s role at Miles Design consists of driving brand strategy, business development, and firm-wide marketing. Josh was honored as one of the Indianapolis Business Journal's 40 Under 40.

5 Responses

  1. How the Porsche 911 Design reminds me to ship #design #process

  2. RT @milesdesign How the Porsche 911 Design Reminds me to Ship.

  3. “@joshmiles: How the Porsche 911 Design reminds me to ship #design #process” love the car analogy

  4. Don’t let rear-engine problems keep you from shipping – a new post:

  5. Gene Kasun says:

    I remember seeing Nauru House back in the early 1990s when it was still pebblecrete, and later seeing it in the process of being reclad in aluminium there is more detail about the work here.

Leave a Reply