Recently we found ourselves in an embarrassing position. Just after launching our Private Beta and gaining a ton of momentum, we hit a wall.
We had been working on launching this site so we could start our marketing efforts and grow our customer base. We tried too hard to do something super cool. That was a mistake. We couldn’t get our “cool thing" to work well on all browsers and devices, forcing us to redo our mobile and tablet views at the 11th hour. Since we didn’t feel comfortable driving traffic to the site with these issues, it held up our general marketing efforts. This cost us at least a month of valuable time, when we could have been building our brand, acquiring customers and learning from feedback.
Here are some of the lessons we learned:
- Reduce work in process: focus on just your top few priorities so the team does not get spread too thin; and if you get stuck on something important, swarm it!
- When you're moving fast, being solid is better than being super cool or cutting edge: don’t let the “group think" of doing something awesome overwhelm the practicality of solving a problem.
- Don’t start work unless everyone has what they need: is the handoff from one person to the next really solid, or are their gaps?
- Look early and look often: don’t wait to check in on work, make sure everyone is on the same page and no one is blocked by inattention.