The Final Draft Fallacy


Michael Warren

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

In addition to law enforcement training classes, I also am privileged to teach undergraduate classes at Madonna University. I enjoy teaching. Grading – not so much. And there is one thing that makes grading nearly maddening – first drafts. Not that there is one. But that one is submitted for an assignment.

But as much as I dislike first drafts, perhaps there is something that is even worse. And that is a final draft.

Now it sounds like I am unhappy with everything. But that’s not the case. Let me explain a bit to clear this up.

When we submit a final draft, the project / assignment / policy – whatever – is closed. It’s done. At least it is in the mind of the author.

But should it be closed? Too often once we reach final draft territory we stop. Stop asking questions. Stop doing research. Stop thinking.

Things continue to change. Research changes. Laws change. But we don’t.

The final draft should only signal one thing – the cycle starts again. How do I know what I think I know? Why do I believe what I believe? And why do I do what I do? A cycle that ensures that we are doing things the best possible way.

“Final” is a fallacy. A fallacy that can inhibit and prevent improvement if we allow it.