Or test, then ship. How much testing?
I re-read this gem from The Fashion Incubator’s archives this weekend and got into a rather heated debate with my software engineer husband about item #3.
>>3. Ship, then test. I disagree with Guy on this one. He thinks most entrepreneurs over perfect their products prior to shipping. In my experience, most designers haven’t perfected their products enough; excessive product features that people don’t value is rare in this business. Still, I’ve seen a lot of paralysis by analysis from DEs. Some of you can’t get off the perfection treadmill to make a first launch. You have incredible laundry lists of “musts” that just aren’t tenable or realistic.<<
Like I said, my husband, A, is in software and his view of things is very different. That being said, he’s already co-founded a still-thriving company years ago and left it to start another, all while publishing a couple of books on software so he might know a thing or two about what he’s talking about. Ha.
Of course no one means to not test at all before shipping, there should be some testing. Pattern corrections, fittings, etc. But when do you just let your baby fly? (I know it’s dangerous to treat your products like your kids but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t slip once in a while.)
A says ship ship ship. Easy for him to say. If software tests poorly with the public, it’s very easy to issue a newer version. You fix the bug and post it on twitter. A few retweets later, everyone’s got the upgrade. Firefox 22.214.171.124.4, anyone? Isn’t your computer programmed to automatically scan for upgrades and notify you? There is a publicly accepted tenet that software is never as awesome as it will be in a couple of weeks/months.
Whether you work in “fashion” or “apparel”, it’s different. Clothing consumers, for the most part, don’t buy a dress thinking it will tide them over until the designer makes a better one. They buy a dress because it looks nice, it fits well, it’s priced well. Garmentos can’t ship everyone a new t-shirt because we discovered the way we sewed that collar doesn’t fit over a good percentage of the large-noggined public. And I’m thinking Toyota is wishing they tested a little more right about now.
What do you think? Am I making excuses or are my points valid? How do you reach the point where you’ve got something good enough? When you run out of time? (And yes, A and I have arguments like this on a regular basis. I’m very forgiving and he has selective memory.)