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!"
- Good is about software quality.
- Fast is about delivery cost.
- Featureful is about product scope.
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
- Stitch Fix
- HQ Trivia
- 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.
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
- deliver more than just a first product to a handful of customers
- 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.
- You'll get to market with a solid, finished product at least as fast (we're being generous here, in all likelihood, faster)
- You'll have more customers lined up to purchase once you deliver your product
- 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.
- You'll need less funding along the way.
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