Entrepeneur Mark Goldenson wrote a great article in Venturebeat last week on the lessons he learned working on his failed startup, PlayCafe.  This passage resonated with me:

3. Know when to value speed vs. stability. Another reason PlayCafe’s complexity hurt us is that developing good content and technology simultaneously required too much time. We tried to make each deep and stable — important, we thought, given our live nature — but we were too slow to iterate in a novelty- and entertainment-based business.

A metaphor I like is that a chess novice can defeat a master if moving twice each round. This generally increases bugs and offends perfectionists, but I agree with Reid Hoffman that if you review your first site version and don’t feel embarrassment, you spent too much time on it.

This is a lesson that applies to all web development work.  Way, way too many organizations tend to turn a web development project into a six to twelve month process, with delays resulting from months of arguments about font choices or waiting on content that sounds good in theory, but no one has time or energy to write. 

In almost all cases, organizations are better off scaling back their initial requirements in order to get something up quickly so they can start making an impact now.  As long as the initial site is built in a flexible platform like Drupal, it should be relatively painless to then launch iterative improvements to the site over time.

A website is not a print brochure.  Nothing is being sent to the printer and a website isn’t something that should ever be seen as finished. 

“The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.