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thoughts on software development & startups

Fail Early, Fail Often

I have been reading some user experience books lately. While doing so, I came across this gem:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on theleft side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the rightsolely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scalesand weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pounds of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Thosebeing graded on “quality,” however, needed to produce only one pot—albeit a perfect one—to get an “A.” Well,came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group beinggraded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work—and learningfrom their mistakes—the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more toshow for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay. (Bayles & Orland 2001; p. 29)