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Moving Fast Without Breaking Things

Why is speed important? 

One of the most common recurring conversations I had with startup founders was how to get products and features out the door faster. Typically, all is running smoothly until it’s time to actually push your work out into the wild. People want to buy the poster that says “move fast and break things”, but they end up not doing the former, causing more of the latter.  One of my core tenants in Dependable was to help move projects forward by making sure everyone checks egos at the door and gets out of their own way. 

Fear is the project killer. 

So why is moving fast important? When put on the spot recently, I blurted out “because life is short and we’re all going to die one day.” I thought I should try to collect my thoughts and phrase it in a less morbid fashion. 

  • It means you can serve others and deliver value quicker. Holding out on delivering value to your customers is selfish.
  • Getting products into customer’s hands means a quicker path to getting cash flow into your pocket. 
  • Speed is a competitive advantage. The quicker you get features out the door, the quicker you can offer something others don’t.
  • As an employee, your stint at your company may be shorter than you think. According to a Stack Overflow 2018 Survey, over half of the developers asked changed jobs in the last two years. That means you have less time to make an impact. This is doubly true if you are a freelancer or contractor working on a project. 
  • You may be in a race with apathy. One of the top 10 reasons projects fail is the lifecycle of stakeholders giving a damn is shorter than the product development lifecycle. 
  • There is nothing quicker than done. And done is the engine of more
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And to be clear, I am not an advocate of the “move fast and break things” mantra. Facebook lived by it & paid it no mind when they broke things like their interface, their trust among their users, the news media, or American democracy writ large. Moving fast without caring about destination or side effects isn’t speed, it’s haste and recklessness. It’s careening down the highway at 100mph, instead of picking the route to your destination with the quickest route and finding ways to cut out stops along the way. 

So don’t be hasty, and don’t be reckless. But be quick, and be aggressive