Web app laser focus

by oneafrikan on July 27, 2006

Today was a good day – we sat down and really thrashed out the user case and benefits thereof, for the app we’re building, over a bit of lunch. One of the things that came up continually was the importance of staying focussed on the task at hand, which is “the credit card test“. We’ve all worked for many years in this industry, and all worked in all sorts of environments, but the one thing that is common to all of them is the desire to continually add new features and new functionality, either at our own behest, or at the clients request. The upside in the service model is that since your time is money, you earn more money. There doesn’t seem to be much of a downside as long as you deliver what you promise, apart from stress of course ;-)

In the product side of things, however, not having a laser focus is both deadly and foolish. So what we’ve done is create a list of “nice to have’s” which we’ll keep track of and add to as we grow into our app, but for now, they’re just going to slow us down and add more work, more time and more frustration.

So we’ve really cut back on extraneous features, nailing things down to the absolute essentials – we’re not making any assumptions about what users will want or need, and we’re not going to deviate from that. We have a core offering and that simplicity is what will allow me to go to sleep tonight a happy man – safe in the knowledge that we can build up rather than have to build sideways and backwards.

My current other frustration is that things in the US seem to be blowing up, literally every day. I only have to sync my feeds in the morning to get at least 1 to 3 posts about this or that company getting funding, or releasing a new app.

OK, I’m not in the US and I’m not in the business of creating an unsustainable venture, but I am in the business of siezing on opportunities, and it just seems like the eternal adage of “it will always take longer than you think to get it done” won’t go away – balancing client work with web app development (even when you’re essentially directing, there is loads of business and marketing stuff to think about) doesn’t make for lots of time to try out new ideas.

So, the upshot is that the web app is progressing thanks to some very cool people who are working on it, but the downside is that I’m pushing back my social and relaxation time to get things done. It’s a short term fix, but will hopefully have long term benefits [I’d love to talk to you if you are in a similiar situation or have experienced this situation before] thanks to staying true to the absolute laser focus and staying true to our ideals of providing value over gimmickry.

2 comments

Hey Gareth, glad to see things are rolling along. Though you have to take time out of your personal life for a couple months to get it done, it will pay off for you in the long run. So, I encourage you to just buckle down and do it. You’ll get the recognition you deserve once you put a prototype up, or allow some Beta testing.

Keep us all in the loop!

by hash on July 29, 2006 at 6:07 pm. Reply #

Thanks dude – really appreciate that ;-)

Have just done about 20 hours client work this weekend, so I’m pretty knackered, and I know I’ve got at least another 2 to 3 hours to go, so I hear what you’re saying – in amongst all the stuff that’s gone on personally in the last year or so, we’re almost there with the app, and starting to build a great team – and I can’t say how happy it makes me ;-)

by Gareth Knight on July 31, 2006 at 12:08 am. Reply #

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