It’s almost never about Vision at first.
It’s usually about “What’s the revenue model,” and even more so “What’s *my* get out of this?”
This isn’t a bad thing, and it’s helped significantly with regard to how I formulate and make product pitches.
Even when I think something’s a great idea – even when I know it – I know it’s not ready to show until I’ve got that question down: What are the most direct, concrete benefits from this I can tout to my audience?
“Useful features and functions that your audience will love” is way down the list; even “this fits in perfectly with your stated strategic vision; it’s a set of tactical objectives that moves you further toward where you said you want to be” isn’t generally received much better. Forget about “streamlining processes” and “creating efficiencies:” those things are generally part of a great digital product, but that’s too much steak and not enough sizzle.
Here’s what they want to hear (and so what you need to say): “Building Product X will create a projected revenue stream of Y.”
If you can’t lead with that, you’re dead(*)
(* – I’m not saying this is true at all times with every audience; it has been true for at least the past two years for 98.6% of my audiences)
The cast of “Product Chefs” is expanding. A year-plus extremely-rapid design, develop, release, refine is quickly becoming design, deliberate, design, deliberate, develop, deliberate, design, deliberate (you get the picture).
I have definite ideas about how wrong this is in this current environment, but I’m too experienced to think mine’s the only – or only correct – perspective. My feeling is you work on the bulk of the product – the 80% – get that correctly-positioned for release and refinement and you go. Your audience is going to be your best source of feedback, and you’ll never be able to test every usage case beforehand, anyway: get it working, get it out, and get ready for audience feedback to inform your plans for Release 1.1, 1.2 and beyond.
At what point does it make sense to be more concerned with the 20% (as opposed to the 80%)?
When should your company (any company) be more concerned about Getting it “Perfect” than with “Getting it Launched?” (air traffic control, financial systems and the like aside)
Those who feel charged with “protecting the Brand” can generally make a case that just about anything is not yet “ready for prime time.”
In more jaded moments, it’s easy to point out that
- Success breeds envy; when something starts working, people want a piece
- When a product is designed by committee, each member can claim their piece of success upon success; upon failure, there is near-zero culpability
To the other point of view, however, maybe it’s upon success that you start taking a harder look at the 20% you’ve been neglecting in initial releases. It slows you down, but with more eyes on you, maybe you need to adjust design, develop, release, refine to account for more upfront.