Getting Real: It’s a problem when it’s a problem 03 Nov 2005
38 comments Latest by Sam
Don’t waste time on trouble spots that don’t even exist yet
Sure, you need to prepare a bit ahead of time but you should never inflate a problem until it actually is a problem.
- Do you really need to worry about scaling to 100,000 users today if it will take you two years to get there?
- Do you really have to hire eight programmers if you only need three today?
- Do you really need 12 servers now if you can run on two for a year?
People often spend too much time up front trying to solve problems they don’t even have yet. Sometimes it’s better to wing it. Heck, we actually launched Basecamp without the ability to bill customers! Since the product billed in monthly cycles, we knew we had a 30-day gap to figure it out. We used that time to solve more urgent problems and then, after launch, we tackled billing. It worked out fine (and it forced us into a simple solution).
Don’t sweat stuff until you actually must. Don’t overbuild for scalability. Increase hardware and system software as necessary. If you’re slow for a week or two it’s not the end of the world. Just tell your customers you’re experiencing some growing pains. They’ll appreciate the candor.
Bottom Line: Make decisions just in time, when you have access to the real information you need. In the meanwhile, you’ll be able to lavish attention on the things that require immediate care and feeding.