Good, Fast, and Featureful. Pick Two!

There is a famous saying about product development: "Good, Cheap, and Fast. Pick two!" I think it's definitely true when building features. But when building a whole product, which may contain many uncertain features, I have a slightly different version: "Good, Fast, and Featureful. Pick two!"


These three constraints is like the CAP theorem for project management. You need to make a tradeoff between them to build a product.

Fast + Featureful

  • Examples
    • Uber
    • Stitch Fix
    • Twitter
    • HQ Trivia
    • Android
  • If the product offers enough value to a user, she will put up with almost anything for the privilege of using it.
  • The broken customer journey of early users is a badge of pride for companies that have shown true breakaway growth and product/market fit.
  • Focus on the heart of what's working. Nearly everything else can be fixed with enough time and resources.

-- from Broken is beautiful. – Lightspeed Venture Partners – Medium

Good + Featureful

  • No one wins when a startup optimizes all its success for the short term.
    • As a startup, to be successful, you need to
      1. deliver more than just a first product to a handful of customers
      2. continually deliver to a large number of customers over a long period of time
    • Scaling requires at least some structure and methodology
    • Especially early on
  • Start Slower, Finish Faster (and Better)
    • Starting slower and more methodically, especially in the early stages as you're vetting your idea and the target market, is the key to shifting the odds of creating a successful startup in your favor.
      1. You'll get to market with a solid, finished product at least as fast (we're being generous here, in all likelihood, faster)
      2. You'll have more customers lined up to purchase once you deliver your product
      3. You'll end up with a more solid product that can quickly be modified to meet the needs of an expanding customer base — you'll be able to scale better and faster.
      4. You'll need less funding along the way.

-- from Startups: Start Slow to Move Fast (and Take Less Money)

Good + Fast

  • Tight constraints force a creative, disciplined and critical approach to product design and development.
  • The product is the result of managing a delicate balance of tradeoffs.
  • Steps to build and release value for customers
    • Product scoping (Product manager is accountable)
      • Design your solution to the problem at hand
      • Create a specification breakdown for the solution
      • Turn this specification into user stories
      • Go small: Define your minimum version of this feature that delivers value
    • Technical Scoping (Engineering manager is accountable)
      • Get full team alignment and understanding on the specification and user stories
      • Break user stories into technical tasks
      • Estimate technical tasks
    • Cycle Scoping (Product manager is accountable)
      • Based on estimates, select which stories and tasks will get completed in the current development cycle
      • Leave out all the rest for another day

-- from Product Scope: The Path to a Minimum Lovable Product