As a founder, you learn quickly that everyone wants you to explain your company in 20 seconds or less. Very early on in our company we coined a phrase that has stuck with us ever since. Build Small, Learn Fast, Iterate Often. At times we’ve adhered to this less than we should have, but it remains a guiding star, a competitive differentiator and an ideal for how we approach our work here at RevUnit using the agile methodology.
By building small we release faster. Releasing faster allows us to subject the product to real user feedback much earlier in the process. The fact is that no amount of strategy, planning and forethought makes a product infallible. We always learn more when real users give us feedback. When that feedback is obtained earlier we have more time and budget to course correct. We’re less invested in our ideas and more open to what the user has to say.
We like to say that learning is about listening. And listening is about tooling. We often find ourselves talking clients out of features and in to listening tools. Tools like UserVoice, Google Analytics, Crittercism and the App Store help us understand what our users want and ultimately drive the product roadmap for future phases. We can’t be so tied to our own ideas that we’re not willing to consistently inject user feedback into our roadmap.
There’s no such thing as “set it and forget it” in technology. We try to be as transparent with our clients as possible on this. Anything we build has to be supported. The consumer expectation today is that you’re always improving, always adding features and fixing bugs. This is led by the giants of our industry like Google with their “constant beta” approach. If there’s no funding to iterate on a project then it needs to be broken into smaller chunks or dropped all together.
We like building tech people like using. The closer we (and our clients) adhere to our core agile methodology of Build Small, Learn Fast and Iterate often, the more successful the project. Our working relationships are more collaborative, users are more engaged and the product is much stronger. Here’s to sticking to our guns!