Note — Dec 02, 2020

Just Enough - Research

Good thread on doing just-enough research.

It is about this time of year I recommend a “so what if we build nothing” exercise. It is always fascinating. Gather a cross-functional group and pose the question “ok, so what if we stop building new stuff. We go into full maintenance mode. What happens?”

Initially ppl will be confused. They’ll joke about losing their job. Once the get over that, they get curious and start imagining. Typically I prep with some kind of monthly/quarterly “scoreboard” or dashboard. “ok, what happens to this quarter after quarter?” 2/n

What numbers go up? Go down? More or less support cases? Fewer purchases? Fewer upgrades? Higher cost of acquisition? Lower tension? More churn? A competitor starts to creep up? What stagnates? When? “Let’s start creating a timeline...” 3/n

The team adds events to a timeline. What you notice quickly is how few ppl have even considered this question. They realize how “new stuff” is such a pervasive default that they don’t even ask why. They don’t consider that doing nothing is actually an option. 4/n

There’s an awkward moment when they realize they can’t really link much of what they’re doing to anything as it is. Or when they realize they’re digging through so much debt/non-value-producing complexity ... that they don’t really get much done anyway 5/n

The upside is that it really forces your team to think about Why. Why build? It also forces your team to think of product planting all these seeds that will hopefully germinate over the years. Give it a try! 6/end