Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Too Big Task List

One of the things that's fun about prototypes is that they're fast and they're small (at least, usually). It's very much a case of "let's see if we can do this". And then the big moment comes. It was a good prototype; let's make it a product!

Did you notice your task list?

It just went from this:

To this:


Whoo boy.

Your task list has a lot of things on it now: market research, API development, product development (hint: it's quite likely that you're throwing out the code you've written in the prototype), documentation, testing, performance evaluation, design, etc etc etc.

Okay. Slow down. Yes, you have a lot to do. Now, do just two things:
  1. get a high-level list of what you have to do between now and release
  2. figure out what you have to do this week
It's most important when you're starting to productize something to simply start. If you've shipped product before you kind of mostly know where you have to end up. So get that big picture out of your head and on paper (or virtual paper of your choice). Then get the details that you need right now. That's it.

One of the best things you can do to keep that excitement and productivity from the prototype process going is to simply keep going. Keep coding, keep designing, keep coming up with use cases. Don't let the analysis you need to do for the product stop that entirely. It's important to do the analysis, but it's okay to do other things as well. Do the fun and the analysis - you really can have both.

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