Iteration is not design
Todd Olson
2.8K156

This is, on the whole, a very good article about a thing that is indeed a huge problem in the industry. The push towards perpetual MVP’s that never quite have a vision of where they are actually heading is painful and creates a lot of unnecessary chaos. Iteration is a tool, but one that needs to be used properly.

All that being said this line: “But can you name any great, innovative product that has emerged from its iterative processes?” Feels like a bit of an overreach. Google hasn’t gotten to where it is by releasing bad products that never go anywhere. Their methodology isn’t perfect by any means (see your graveyard list) but there are at least as many successes from their approach as failures. Gmail, arguably the best email client on the market, sat in Beta for years before that label was removed, and it got dramatically better, including adding some really revolutionary features along the way that today we just sort of take for granted. Take for example tagging instead of folder organization, or the ability to train spam filtering with manual triggers, or automatic sorting of important emails over unimportant ones (all of which grew out of that innovative process). Maps is another one that followed the same trajectory, and today is one of the most used mapping tools out there. Ditto a whole lot of other products out there.

Again the thesis of your article is entirely correct (and I fully agree with it), but sometimes statements like this can actually detract from your argument if it drives people away from the point you’re trying to make. Just my 2 cents.

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