Over a decade ago, I worked with a dude who had absolutely no standards. None. I mean, he hadn’t even gotten the job for himself. But that’s another story to be told over pints at the Henry House.
In any event, my team was developing a Shockwave game (remember those?). The game was pretty good in the end, but we certainly weren’t Nintendo, that’s for sure. Anyway, I returned from my vacation or honeymoon or something like that, and went to check on the project. I played the latest build of the game and found it to be tortuous. Utterly unplayable, not fluid in any way, and certainly not something I felt we could show the client, who was expecting to see a progress build the next day.
I don’t remember how we managed to rebuild the game to a playable and enjoyable state, but I do remember what the dude told me when I confronted him about the crappy game.
“Well, it’s not the worst game I’ve ever played.”
I was incredulous. Completely stunned. I exploded on the dude. Pretty sure I ended up in the VP’s office over that one. Oh well.
My point was, there’s no way we can put out work that we’re not proud of. Good enough just isn’t good enough.
And yet here we are in the age of iteration. It makes sense now to build something to a significant degree of polish, and yet avoid striving for absolute perfection. Because you just know that you’re going to learn something from your site visitors or app users that will change how you think anyway. Not much, mind you. Just a degree, maybe two. And these subtle shifts and adjustments and tweaks will make the site or app that much stronger.
I don’t mean put out crap just to have something in play. I’m talking about building what makes sense at the time. Don’t delay launching until every last word has been studied by teams of scientists at MIT. Instead, get it out there. Get feedback. Act on it. Leave budget to write/shoot/tweak more after launch. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to try something new.
You don’t want to say that “it’s not the worst website you’ve ever been to”, but feel comfortable in saying that “it’s not the best website you’ve ever been to, but it’s getting better every week, and it’s exactly what we need it to be at this exact time”.