“If you aren’t embarrassed by the first version of your product, you shipped too late.” – Reid Hoffman

Perfect is the enemy of the good.  Entrepreneurs and product owners who try to refine the product to the nth degree miss out on a big thing that a product shipment entails – customer feedback and validation.

Product Shipment Blues:

We all have seen how entrepreneurs and product owners take a lot of pride in their “baby” an idea that they have been nurturing since it was an embryonic concept in their minds’ eye. They want to make sure that the product is something that an accurate reflection of their vision and a manifestation of all their great ideas. Inevitable, the product shipment is always “tomorrow” or “next week.”

For them, the concept of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is actually the Maximum Viable Product.  They want to pack in everything and iterate on it before their prized possession launches into the market.

The challenge with this approach is manifold.  For one, the scope creep will make the product bloated, and timelines stretched beyond reason. More importantly, every product, service, and solution undergoes significant metamorphosis before it becomes a mega market success.  In many cases, the final product has little resemblance to the initial concepts.

Mark Zuckerberg, the found and CEO of Facebook is famous for saying, “Done is better than good.”  If it works for Facebook, it should probably work for you too.

In some cases, if it is a B2B product, it may be better to do enterprise client beta releases rather than a public launch.

Of course, there is always a risk that if it is too raw and completely unbaked, the customers may not see the end result.  There is also a saying about “Don’t ship shit.” But mostly the problem that product owners suffer from is never too early but too late.

So, despite warts, it is better to ship the product and then iteratively refine based on customer use, experience, and both implicit and explicit feedback.

Agree?  Disagree? What has been your experience in dealing with product shipment before it reached a state of perfection?

Related Items:

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A Wisdom Story about a Reid Hoffman quote about Shipping Products

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