Deliver Early - a startup series (part 5/6)
To deliver early, there are a few key (not secret) ingredients. They may seem like common sense, but I have heard time and time again that people don't do this... so here goes:
Make Delivering a Feature of your MVP
If you don't ship it, then you haven't finished your MVP. For those who don't know, MVP = Minimal Viable Product. It should be a list of components that are absolutely necessary for the product to be usable. If you leave one of those features out, then you don't have a working product. This seems like common sense that if you don't deliver it, the product isn't done. What generally happens when this is NOT done, we start to tweak this, or that, and over-analyze the product.
If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late. - Reid Hoffman
Set delivery expectations EARLY
I did not say, set delivery DATE early, I said set delivery EXPECTATIONS early. My setting the expectation on when to expect it, you will begin building trust with your client. Also, it puts a level of urgency for you to meet that expectation. If you think it is going to take you a week, set expectation of a month, if it is a month, say 6 weeks. You will figure out what time frame works best for you. Here is why that is important. Generally when you are taking on a new feature/product, you probably have NO idea on how long it will take. The more experience you have in coding, you will have better ideas on delivery times. Also, I recommend the additional time because life happens, you have to go to wedding, you get sick, some urgent production issue happens. All of that is reality, and if you miss that expectation that YOU set, you have started to destroy any trust they have in you.
Deliver before that expectation
Whatever that date you set is, always (ALWAYS) deliver before that. Whether it be a day, or a week, deliver early. If you start delivering hours after you get the proposal, they may be skeptical of your work. I know it sounds crazy, you work too fast and therefore it is sloppy, or you lied to them about the expectation date. It all is about trust. If your clients trust you, then you will get return business, they won't go somewhere else, because they already trust you.
If you communicate once a week, then you must always communicate once a week with that client for every project, UNLESS you change that expectation at the beginning. If you deliver something everyday, then that is what they will expect. Communication and delivery are important only if they are consistent. If you deliver for a couple of days and they don't hear from you for another week, they will wonder what happened to you.
All in all, it is easy to deliver early if you follow those simple suggestions. I didn't say rules, I said suggestions.
Now go out there and build something amazing!