Not So Fast

They will tell you to go fast.  They will tell you to break things.  To fail.  To continue failing until you succeed.  They will call this discovery or experimentation.  They’re not always wrong, but they’re certainly not always right either.  We should understand when it’s appropriate to go fast.  And when it’s not.

It seems to me that the people who encourage us to “fail fast” have little to no skin in the game.  How often has your manager told you to fail a few times next month?  What about your board of directors?  Your customers?

In reality, the people who care most about your product would prefer you succeed slowly, rather than to fail fast.  More often than not, success is achieved by going slower, which might be antithetical to how you – or your team – operate.  After all, it took Slack nearly four years to find its first customer.  It took Notion about three (thanks to Lenny’s Newsletter for this info).

The right enhancement for your audience likely requires thought.  And collaboration.  And exploration and research.  The right solution likely requires time.

Here’s another wrinkle: Maybe your team isn’t built to go fast.  While we’d all like to be part of an Olympic relay team, maybe the team is more “tortoise” than “hare”.  Perhaps the working style of the team is to stay focused and march slowly – yet methodically – toward the finish line.

Deploying a solution to an audience is work and commitment in itself.  Training your staff to market, sell and support the new solution is also an investment in time.  If you’re going to commit to that effort, it only makes sense to get the product right the first time.  After all, studies show that it’s 30x more expensive to fix a solution in production.

They will tell you to go fast.  But delivering the right product at the right pace might ultimately be a better option.

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