Backlog size is inversely proportional to how often you talk to customers

As with anything, these are not absolute truths but born out of my experience.

  • Replace planning time with talking to customers
  • Reduce time spent on UI design; focus on technical component design instead
  • How you think people use your app is different than how they use it
  • Implement account spoofing
  • Page one real estate is critical to a seamless experience
  • Your customer is your most important marketer
  • MVPs are pointless if you’re not going to iterate on them

There is no point to having a large backlog because the bigger the backlog, the higher the unvalidated assumptions, and the lower the chance that it creates any customer value.

A product’s capacity to implement UI customer feedback is more important than a product’s initial UI, yet we tend to focus far too much on the latter with heavy design up front. Small components and low-level reusability are key in UIs that are easy to change.

Keeping technical debt low allows you to make the changes your customers need you to make. Speed is a function of technical debt.

An MVP is enough of a feature that can tell me:

  • Does this have enough customer value to continue investing in?
  • What about the technical implementation needs to be improved if we want to scale this feature?
  • Does this feature make a dent in our key goals, or is it a distraction?

These questions cannot be answered without shipping something to production. I could plan and strategize for months on end and get no closer to answering them. They have to be in production in front of users, and “release one” is rarely ever the final state.