Excerpt from Jon Kolko’s book Well-Designed

From Well-Designed: How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love (2014) by Jon Kolko:

Most of our product development processes are arcane and reflect outdated ways of thinking. The “product requirements document” for example – a leftover artifact from the 1980s – still seems to find its way into product development meetings, and those same meetings seem to spin endlessly around arguments about features, alignment, and time-to-market.

As the market demands products that are simple to understand, robust in their technical capabilities, and most importantly, delightful to engage with, our legacy processes obviously don’t deliver. And with consumer expectations relentlessly rising, becoming overwhelmed with the complexity of feature matrices and specifications is easy. In this increasingly complicated and pressurized world, it’s hard enough delivering a useful product at all, much less one that someone really loves.

In the past decade, mostly in reaction to this anxiety and complexity, a number of methodologies have developed that purport to be fast, nimble, and quick. These methods reject documentation and deride linear process, swinging the pendulum in the direction of speed and results. Run loose and lean, it is said, in order to fail fast and succeed sooner. Yet these methods introduce a mess of their own, and as a result, consumers often end up with incomplete products that feel half-baked.

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