swombat.com

daily articles for founders

Startups and icebergs  

Des Traynor on those seemingly simple additions that can torpedo your planned release schedule (if you have one):

We call them icebergs because what can be seen is trivial in comparison with what goes on beneath the surface. They can harm projects in 3 different ways.

  • A UX designer adds it in, not understanding the complexity.
  • A client is furious when an agency won’t bow to a seemingly tiny UI change.
  • Users of an app grow frustrated when a seemingly small change seems to take forever.

Des goes on to offer advice on how to avoid three common icebergs: search, rich text editing, and email processing.

"Iceberg" features are very relevant to startups. In fact, I would argue that one of the main reasons why you want an experienced technical cofounder on a startup (as opposed to a brilliant but inexperienced one) is because they can spot those icebergs from mile off, and help to design the product so that those are avoided by design (at least in the MVP). If the startup is successful, there comes a point where the icebergs simply can't be avoided any longer, but at least for the MVP, your startup should not have to deal with them (unless the very purpose of your startup is to deal with one specific iceberg, of course).

More from the library:
Let your team speak!
Three traffic triage questions
Why Ty Danco is investing in CardMunch