Investors (and startups looking for investment) know this as no other: the team is what makes or breaks a tech company, or any company for that matter. Part of that is team culture, team productivity, but also the mentality you have as a team when it comes to products.
I am somewhat of a perfectionist, most of the time. And I work a lot with people to which that label would also stick quite easily. I’ve learned however, a long time ago, that when it comes to tech, there usually isn’t really a “perfect” version of a product. There will always be features to add, bugs to squash, user experiences to improve, not to speak of quality of code, unit testing coverage, integration tests, continuous integration scripts and configuration. A tech product simply is never done. If you feel like it is, you either succeeded in building a really great MVP (which is also quite rare), or you haven’t delved deeply enough into your code base for a while.
That “never being done“ makes it super hard for some teams to actually release. The mantra “release early, release often” sounds so great on paper, and almost nobody will disagree with that basic premise, but when it comes to releasing the first version of the product, it often sounds much easier than it is, because:
- The experience isn’t great enough. Are people going to get how this app/website/tool even works?
- We’re still missing features X and Y. Will people want to use the product without those?
- There’s this bug, that’s really hard to reproduce. How many people will experience that when using the product?
Note that all of those usually lead back to a certain question or uncertainty. Many of them will be about product-market fit. Experience shows that the only way to really learn if that exists is to let people play with your product.
Also, users on the internet know how to make their voices heard. If they have an opinion, they will definitely find a way to tell you about it. So stop guessing, stop spending hours on perfecting your app or fixing your style sheet, and get the first version of your product out there. If you’re proud of it, you’ve waited too long. If you’re proud of that by launching, you’ve just created a way to validate your assumptions, you’re on the right track!
Make sure you, and all of your team are on the same track, knowing that striving for perfection is important, but validating your idea is more important, so just fuck it, ship it 🚀.