January 1, 2019

Macro vs. micro in product development

At a macro level, if we do most things basically right, the product tends to get better over time. But when you zoom in, you can see that there are a lot of ups and downs along the way. So we have to know that progress isn't always linear, and instead aim to be directionally correct.

Now imagine zooming in even closer, so that you're observing the design process for a single feature. Still lots of ups and downs. Product designers tend to be comfortable with this ambiguity and wrong turns at this level of granularity, but not everyone is as comfortable — even if they agree that ups and downs in general are an inevitable part of a company's trajectory. It's easy to panic, or overreact, or wonder if you're not ever going to pull out of the downturn. And honestly, most startups do fail and many companies do experience "failures," so you do have to remain vigilant to have a chance of success. But I think there's a balance to find.

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