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Race to Running Software
Running a software is said to be the best way to build momentum. The very first day, ideas should be formalized. You can even skip details, do less and even take short cuts as long as it can runs the software faster. “Running a software is real.”
The Real Thing Leads to Agreement
When a group of different people set out to try and find out what is harmonious…their opinions about it will tend to converge if they are mocking up full-scale, real stuff. Of course, if they’re making sketches or throwing out ideas, they won’t agree. But, if you start making the real thing, one tends to reach agreement.
Christopher Alexander, Professor of Architecture
Rinse and Repeat
You don’t need to aim for perfection on the first try because you know that you will do it again later. Learn from feedback and comments and then start perfecting your work.
From idea to implementation
In any projects, you definitely start with ideas. You think of a subject or topic. You let details flow into your mind. Together with your team, you are brainstorming.
When these ideas are being planned like how will you do t, when, where, etc. That is the time that you are sketching your ideas or you are now starting to plan it.
When creating a HTML screens, you should get something real posted so that anyone can see what it looks like on screen.
The coding part is where you code your ideas.
During this whole process remember to stay flexible and expect multiple iterations. You should feel free to throw away the deliverable of any particular step and start again if it turns out crappy. It’s natural to go through this cycle multiple times.
Preferences are also evil because they create more software. More options require more code. And there’s all the extra testing and designing you need to do too. You’ll also wind up with preference permutations and interface screens that you never even see. That means bugs that you don’t know about: broken layouts, busted tables, strange pagination issues, etc.
We may think that customers see preferences as a blessing but the truth is, for a customer, having a lot of option are a headache. Be direct and straight. Just make a decision.
Done means you have completed something. It means something has already been accomplished. They said that think of it as a magical word. Yes, maybe because now your work is fully completed. It does not necessarily mean that you make all your decisions and work right. For now it may work but as soon as you realized that there is something wrong, you can actually go back and revise it.
Accept that decisions are temporary. Accept that mistakes will happen and realize it’s no big deal as long as you can correct them quickly. Execute, build momentum, and move on.
Test in the wild
There’s no substitute for real people using your app in real ways. Get real data. Get real feedback. Then improve based on that info.
Shrink your time
In doing your job, try to shrink or break down time frames into smaller chunks. Keep dividing it into smaller and smaller details and until you can handle it well.
Half, Not Half-Assed
Stick to what is really essential. Trim features down and basically you will come up with the most essential parts.
Start off with a lean, smart app and let it gain traction. Then you can start to add to the solid foundation you’ve built.
It Just Doesn’t Matter
Most of the time you spend is wasted on things that just don’t matter. If you can cut out the work and thinking that just don’t matter, you’ll achieve productivity you’ve never imagined.
Start With No
“We Don’t Want a Thousand Features”
Steve Jobs gave a small private presentation about the iTunes Music Store to some independent record label people. My favorite line of the day was when people kept raising their hand saying, “Does it do [x]?”, “Do you plan to add [y]?”. Finally Jobs said, “Wait wait — put your hands down. Listen: I know you have a thousand ideas for all the cool features iTunes could have. So do we. But we don’t want a thousand features. That would be ugly. Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying NO to all but the most crucial features.”
Expose the price of new features
Although the cost already passed the “no” stage, still you need to expose its hidden cost.
Can You Handle It?
Build something you can manage
In any business, it is important that everything you produced must be managed well.
Bottom line: Build products and offer services you can manage. It’s easy to make promises. It’s much harder to keep them. Make sure whatever it is that you’re doing is something you can actually sustain — organizationally, strategically, and financially.
Make your software general so everyone can find their own solution. Give people just enough to solve their own problems their own way. People figured out how to solve issues on their own.
Do the best job you can with the root of the problem then step aside. People will find their own solutions and conventions within your general framework.
Forget Feature Requests
In forums, we often see customer’s requests like they think that a certain product can improve if they include this and that. But remember that the first response is “no”. Keep in mind that you have a vision and you must stick with it. Basically if a customer request is really essential, sooner or later it will bubble up and you can definitely know if it is really important.
Hold the Mayo
Ask people what they don’t want
Innovation Comes From Saying No
[Innovation] comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.
What’s the big idea?
The vision will guide your decisions and keep you on a consistent path. A vision should be brief and concise. One sentence would be enough but it should be direct to the point. Before you start designing or coding anything you need to know the purpose of your product, the vision.
Organizations need guideposts. They need an outline; employees need to know each day when they wake up why they’re going to work. This outline should be short and sweet, and all encompassing: Why do you exist? What motivates you? I call this a mantra — a three or four-word description of why you exist.
For example, do not worry if you lack programmers. If you think that you need 10 programmers but the truth is your 3 programmers are quite enough since you just started. Just don’t search problems in your company’s future life, just focus on its life today.
Bottom Line: Make decisions just in time, when you have access to the real information you need. In the meanwhile, you’ll be able to lavish attention on the things that require immediate care.
It is said that to beat your competitors you need to one-up them. This one-upping state of mind is a dead-end. A defensive company can only think behind and not think ahead. They just follow.
To beat a competitor, do less. Try solving simple problems and leave the huge problems to others. Try downing instead of one-upping.
What’s Your Problem?
A great way to build software is to start solving your own problems.
When you are solving your problems, you create tools that you are passionate about. Passion means you’ll truly use it and care about it.
The first priority of many startups is acquiring funding from investors.
Outside Money is Plan B
But do remember that if you get your funds from outsiders you’ll have to pay them back and so expectations are raised.
I read about what Jake Walker, has started one company with investor money (Disclive) and one without (The Show), said as he discusses differences between two paths.
“The root of all the problems wasn’t raising money itself, but everything that came along with it. The expectations are simply higher. People start taking salary, and motivation is to build it up sell it, or find some other way for the initial investors to make their money back. In the case of the first company, we simply started acting much bigger than we were – out of necessity… “
Fix Time and Budget, Flex Scope
A way to launch on time and on budget is to keep them fixed. Never throw more time or more money at a problem, just scale back the scope.
If you can fit everything in within the time and budget allotted then don’t expand the time and budget.
Benefits of fixing time and budget:
Have an Enemy
Projects turn out better when everyone takes collective ownership of the process.
But do remember that it is important not get too obsessed with the competition. Overanalyzed other products and you’ll start to limit the way you think.
Its shouldn’t be a Chore
it should be your passion.
Enthusiasm manifests itself readily of course, but indifference is equally indelible. If your commitment doesn’t encompass a genuine passion for the work at hand, it becomes a void that is almost impossible to conceal, no matter how elaborately or attractively designed it is.
According to http://gettingreal.37signals.com/toc.php, Getting real is a smaller, faster, better way to build software. It is about skipping all the stuff that represent real and actually building the real thing. It’s cheaper. It is less in a way that less of everything that is not essential.
Getting real starts with the interface, the real screen that people are going to use. This lets us get the interface right before you get the software wrong. Basically it start backwards.
All in all, getting real delivers what the customers really need and eliminates anything that they don’t.
37 signals is a small team that creates simple, focused software.
Basically 37 signals build products that work smarter, feel better, allow you do things your way and it is easier to use.
Caveats, disclaimers, and other preemptive strikes
Getting Real, every now and then receive complaints. Here are responses to some complaints:
Getting Real is a system that’s worked terrifically for us. Many of these concepts have been around in one form or another for a long time. If you’re company runs on long term schedules with big team, there are still ways to get real. The first step is to have smaller units.