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The Trilemma of Product Development (Day 274)

What are the 3 things you manage for a project? It's always:

  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Time

If you need to deliver a project quicker, you may hire more (experienced) people (and increase the cost), or you can reduce scope (and lower the quality).

If you can get two out of the three, you probably are doing a good job.

For entrepreneurs, cost is usually a prohibitive factor. If you are an Indiehacker working on a MVP, you probably can lower the quality and have total freedom on time.

But if you are serious about your project, you may want to move fast, and improve the quality through iterations. Fast iterations.

That is the typical path for a bootstrapping entrepreneur. MVP defines the least set of features you need, i.e. the lowest acceptable quality, so you can improve your delivery time. Through actual user feedback, you may improve the quality that's most desired by users (product-market-fit), and iterate until you have a quality product where users are willing to eventually pay, or generate enough eyeballs or data to give you some kind of revenue in return.

Sometimes, the quickest way to build a product is just by talking to your potential customers, without writing a single line of code! Iterate on your idea until you have a genuine interest from your target customers. With this approach, you are spending time to improve the design (quality) and reduce unnecessary cost of building something the users don't want.

What is your biggest challenge among the cost, quality and time? And how do you solve that? I'd love to know! Please share in the comment!

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