We’re skipping our shiny features
This has been a pretty good week at work so far. A lot of projects are kicking off, the mood is good, and the possibilities endless. As we are about to build things, we are figuring out where to start. Of all the steps we could take, which is the first one?
Without a plan, we would risk doing small, unimportant tasks for months. We have enough planned to stay busy until early next year. We could jump from task to task, happy that we’re doing things. “Being busy” alone would not mean we’re making good progress. We could spend our time on things nobody wants or needs, wasting a lot of opportunities.
That flashy, hard to build but fun feature might not be the most important. Instead of focusing on what we think is “cool”, we need to pick something that creates value. For now, we are focusing on what we need to build to make this new product usable. The shape doesn’t matter for now. The bells and whistles can come later. Picking a random cool feature and polishing it until we can see our reflection in it is not going to help our users.
We can always improve what we’re building later. By building one functioning but basic slice first, we can confirm if the product works for our users. We can give something to them to use and improve the product based on their feedback.
They probably don’t even need the “cool” feature we would spend many weeks on. The basic version we are building might be enough. The sooner we can figure out what our users need, the more work we can save for ourselves. “Less” is always my favorite amount of work to do.
Double-check you’re working on the right things by asking if the solution helps you solve important problems.
There are disagreements in all teams about what we build and how we build it. Given several options, we need to understand each of their effects.
I had my expectations of how software is used challenged last week when talking to the CTO of a med-tech startup.