As founders, principles, and leaders, it’s hard for us to acknowledge and admit that, while we might have a strong vision for where we are going, we probably don’t have a clear plan for how we’re going to get there. And, even if we do, it’s likely incomplete or we’re too close to it.
Most new (and many well-established) direct-to-consumer brands grossly underestimate how challenging and expensive it is to find and acquire good customers.
It’s time to rebase when you’re paralyzed by technical debt, your team are frustrated because you can’t make changes you feel should be so easy, you need developers to do the simplest things, and you’re spending more time discussing minutiae than strategizing and implementing impactful initiatives.
If we rephrase “requirements” as goals and objectives, we will see leaner, more nimble projects that move faster, cost less money and headspace, and lead to more impactful and successful outcomes.
Despite all the best intentions, meticulous discovery, thoughtful design, and careful planning, how many ecommerce brands find themselves 6–12 months after launch of a new or refreshed site in a spiraling cycle of technical debt and increasing maintenance overhead?
I am often surprised that so many brands send out direct mailers with no easy link between the physical and virtual experience—and no clear call-to-action or incentive to make a purchase.
We need to get back to basics. We need to have a relentless focus on simplicity—on foundational best-practices. We need to eliminate as many of the moving parts as possible to make it easier to diagnose problems and easier to identify the squeaky wheel or where to apply the grease.
While agencies might seem more expensive at face value, even if you work mostly with one person, you are typically getting the benefit of a team’s breadth and depth of knowledge, perspective, and expertise.
The more unknown unknowns there are in a design brief or system requirements, the more time is required to understand the core problems in order to design a suitable solution. Keeping things lean enables you to stay nimble, iterate faster, and grow more sustainably.
In our effort to build lean teams, we tend to underinvest in team-building. We overload our teams with too much complexity and too many areas of responsibility without the frameworks or systems to support them or enable them to have sounding boards and forums for healthy discussion.