sketchboard blog

Ship it now. Don’t wait up for perfection.

By Helena Palha Aug 16, 2016

Every time I blog here I know I may be read by people from a wide range of backgrounds. This means I need to make the core of my posts clear and direct, while the less fundamental parts remain open to whatever interpretation resonates with a reader’s context.

My strategy is informed by personal experience. I’ve spent the last 10 years in 9 different countries.

Ship it often

This lifestyle wouldn’t be possible without the notion of simplicity. Simplicity is what makes communication possible.

I started applying this notion to work in general. It’s teaching me that more often than not there’s little point in chasing perfection. As perfect as perfection may be, it’s too risky to turn it into a primary goal. More often than not it can prevent us from actually getting anything finished.

Since teams don’t have endless resources, trying to polish any idea to perfection can actually be counterproductive. Instead, teams should focus on making ideas functional. An idea that’s functional enough to get out the door can always continue to be improved later. A perfect idea will hardly ever have as much impact as a functional idea, because it’ll probably never be complete. All in all, an idea that’s functional rather than perfect is bound to be simple enough to communicate.

Perfecting too long

The last few months at Sketchboard added to this insight. Now I understand testing and shipping aren’t luxuries. They’re pressing needs, because they’re paths to perspective and feedback. Perspective and feedback make things simpler, and simpler things are less prone to getting lost in translation. As tough as our competition might be, Sketchboarders practice what they preach, valuing readiness and simplicity over perfection.

I get the idea now

As we work to improve user onboarding, we know there’s plenty of kinks to iron. But all our meetings and projects revolve around boards created with our own product, Sketchboard.io. Usage gives us perspective, and none of it could happen if we’d gotten stuck chasing perfection. This is why we can’t stress how much we appreciate any feedback you can send our way.

How does your team prioritize functionality over perfection? Share your stories. We’ll be happy to compare notes.