Perfect is the Enemy of Good (for Product Management)

Artist's rendering of a Mars Exploration Rover.
Image via Wikipedia

As I help out startups that are pre-product/market fit as well as ones that have serious traction, I continually come back to Voltaire’s quote: the perfect is the enemy of good. There’s a serious challenge with startup products pilling on functionality to try to please everyone, which pleases no one. It is much better to create a good product for a focused base of users than it is to try to create the perfect product for all users. A perfect product will never happen. A perfect product management decision will never happen.

Instead, a culture of short, fast iterations with opinionated product management is best. A culture where new features can be brainstormed and implemented faster than the time it takes to wire-frame and detail a perfect plan. Perfect plans only need to exist for NASA. Perfect plans shouldn’t exist for startups. Startups need beta users, oxygen for the product, so that engineering is paced with customer feedback.

Release early and often.

What else? What are some other product management challenges with iterations and feedback?

4 thoughts on “Perfect is the Enemy of Good (for Product Management)

  1. As our good pal Mike Landman, CEO of Ripple says:

    “A working application that can be tweaked beats a theoretical application that is perfect (and either sucks when it’s “done” or never sees the light of day)”

    I see a followup post for you on mechanisms for getting feedback. At Scout, we got the best feedback by sending out an automated e-mail 2 days after every account gets signed up, asking them what they thought, that replies directly to us.

    There are tons of other services out there too, like UserVoice, getsatisfaction, and others.

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