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For every new feature you need to...

10 Aug 2004 by Jason Fried

1. Come up with the concept.
2. Say no.
3. Force the feature to prove its value.
4. If “no” again, end here. If “yes,” continue…
5. Sketch the screen(s)/UI.
6. Design the screen(s)/UI.
7. Code it.
8-16. Test, tweak, test, tweak, test, tweak, test, tweak…
17. Check to see if help text needs to be modified.
18. Update the product tour (if necessary).
19. Update the marketing copy (if necessary).
20. Update the terms of service (if necessary).
21. Check to see if any promises were broken.
22. Check to see if pricing structure is affected.
23. Launch.
24. Hold breath.

6 comments so far (Post a Comment)

10 Aug 2004 | JF said...

BTW, for more on this process, attend the Building of Basecamp Workshop on September 17th. Over half sold out, so get your seat before it's gone.

11 Aug 2004 | Derek at CD Baby said...

The more steps you put into something, the less appealing it seems.

Someone who HATES running would say, "First you have to buy good shoes, then you have to change into running clothes, then lace up your shoes, then you have to stretch, then go out to the park, then run in endless laps, then cool down, then go back home, then take a shower, then change your clothes again... who has the time?"

Someone who LOVES running would say, "Yeah I love to just go out running after work." They don't really dwell on the steps.

Though your list is admirable and complete, it's discouraging. (Though I love your "say no by default" philosophy, so maybe it's meant to be discouraging on purpose.)

If I was doing a similar list to encourage people to develop new ideas, I'd say:
1. decide if it's worth doing, and if so:
2. do it quick - not perfect. just do it.
3. save it. upload it. publish it
4. see what people think

Though I'm always reluctant to add new features to things, once I have that "yeah!" moment of deciding something is worth doing, it's usually up on the website a few hours later, flawed but launched, letting feedback guide future refinement of it.

11 Aug 2004 | JF said...

Hey Derek. Yeah, it's discouraging, but it's real. And that was my point -- every feature needs to fight through all this haze for purpose. If it's more trouble than it worth than it's not worth adding. That's how you keep a product focused as true to itself.

12 Aug 2004 | Scott Palmer said...

It needs to be discouraging. It's too easy to sit in a room and throw new features on. The end result (the user experience) is so far removed, that no one feels the pain from a poor design decision until it's too late.

People try to add features in the hallway on me all the time. Now, folks have stopped asking that way because I always say no. When they make a case, and put in some thought, I rarely give an automatic no. When they spitball something, they get a response that matches their commitment to the new feature.

12 Aug 2004 | Don Schenck said...

Funny, I always say "yes!".

Followed by "We can do anything, given enough time and money". That usually stops 'em in their tracks.

31 Aug 2004 | NooB from Earth said...

say no? I never share my ideas with the "no" personality. it seems to me personality has nothing to do with rating an idea. So you discard perfectly good suggestions because it makes you feel cool. It's a quick reward, but there is no progress in it. Your just going to be rude to the sensitive.

This is were you say "NO" isn't it?

People who rarely have ideas don't know how to wrap them. Should they? People who claim to develop should listen to advice. Were human we don't recognize good ideas if you slap us in the face with them. The way you say "no" is destruction not development. It's being lazy not educated. Set your mind to look for ways to make things work, and you will find ways to make things work. If your looking for the other you will find the other. There many ways to communicate, we all have our favorites, I use the medium the other person likes. If they want to talk over dinner, I talk over dinner! (ha!) Your "no" approach is useless it was shipped with the "no" personality. I think you should develop it. :D
But then again who am I?

thanks for your time.

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