Launch and Iterate
We love to talk about launching and iterating, but too often that feels like an excuse for launching a sub-par product. It’s as if the team is being evaluated on shipping time instead of the product’s quality.
That being said, I think the best way to get feedback about a product is to put it infront of users. You learn a ton. But that doesn’t mean it has to be 100% launched and public. You can use prototypes or just limited-access production code.
You also have to contend that 1st experiences do matter. If something feels confusing, people will likely continue to see it as confusing. If something feels empowering, the same applies.
Once a product is launched, it feels like a milestone has been met. The team is gives each other high fives and drinking beer. And fixing the small things (or even large things) that everyone was going to talk about doing after launch (the iterate part of launch and iterate) suddenly becomes less exciting. Iteration essentially becomes maintenance. I’ve noticed (in myself as well) that it’s a hell of a lot more interesting to work on making a product awesome pre-launch than post-launch.
So here’s my plea: figure out why you’re launching? Is it because the competition is chasing you? Is it because you’re trying to meet a quarterly goal? Are you running out of money? Are you looking for user feedback sooner than later?
Some of those are valid. Some of those are scary. Just please think twice before “launching” a product you don’t consider done.