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Shipped is better than perfect

Posted on (updated Aug 25, 2023)

This week, I’m sharing an early draft of what will soon become a full post. I’d love to hear if you agree (or disagree!) with it so I can round it off:

In preparation for a release at work, we recently spent a lot of time “finalizing” our design. Once we were ready to ship, some details had gotten out of sync between the spec and the implementation. Margins were off by a few pixels, buttons used outdated shades of blue, those kinds of details.

Fixing those inconsistencies required several iterations and took much longer than we anticipated. We justified this effort with “our customers won’t like it otherwise” before they had ever even seen it. We made assumptions about what they might say before letting them say anything! Our desire to ship something “finished” kept us from shipping at all. We never tested or challenged our assumptions.

Digital products are never “done”. We can ship them early, find out what needs to be fixed, and then fix only what is important. Everything else is very expensive busywork with no payoff. Don’t hold yourself back by waiting for something to be perfect: ship it now, fix it later. As long as you solve a problem for your customers, they’ll forgive some rough edges. If they even notice them in the first place.

I’ll put a more detailed version of this on my blog eventually. If this draft reminds you of a situation you were (or are) in, hit reply and tell me about it!

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