Are we ready to ship?

The problem with “quick and dirty” is that dirty remains long after quick has been forgotten.--Steve McConnell

Reginald Braithwaite posted this to the Toronto PMA:

Try this experiment: go to an engineer, and say "I don't care, your
career is not on the line, it is more important that we have a
quality product and happy customers. Now: are we ready to ship? If
not, when do you think we will actually be ready?"

Now go to another engineer. Tell her that vacations and weekends are
cancelled until we ship. Tell her that hitting our ship date is the
only thing that matters, slipping dates is for losers. Explain that
we have made commitments in the press and that the President will be
embarrassed and angry is we miss our date. Now, ask her if we are
ready to ship.

Is quality a variable? As Reginald points out, quality is the variable when dates and features are fixed... and careers in jeopardy. Timeboxing is the only solution that I know of that consistently gets good results.

Time is so much less important than we generally believe; urgency is typically in the minds of the vendor rather than the market. So remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Ship less or ship late but don't ship poor.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.


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