Why 'Stuff This, Let's Ship It' Is The Best Attitude To Adopt (NSFW)

Before you complete any project that you really care about and show it to the world, you'll probably be plagued by self-doubt. Will others understand it? Is it missing anything? Can you make it better somehow? At some point, you have to let go — and possibly swear in the process.

Picture by Les Haines

This is the approach that development team at Opbeat adopted. Like other web entrepreneurs, they were excited yet nervous to finally release their hosted web operations service. Then they realised they were already using it themselves successfully and it was time to get past the anxiety and let go.

The image above is now a poster hanging in Opbeat's office. A high-res version is available for download if you'd like a reminder to overcome your fear of "shipping".

It reminds me of another maxim, 'Done is better than perfect' and also this quote from Dave Winer:

Software is a process, it's never finished, it's always evolving. That's its nature. We know our software sucks. But it's shipping! Next time we'll do better, but even then it will be shitty. The only software that's perfect is one you're dreaming about. Real software crashes, loses data, is hard to learn and hard to use. But it's a process. We'll make it less shitty. Just watch!

As Stack Overflow's Jeff Atwood says in his "How to stop sucking and be awesome instead" presentation: "Version 1 sucks, but ship it anyway."

That's not to say we shouldn't strive to make the best stuff possible. It just means don't let fear or the quest for perfection keep you from finishing things.

Fuck It, Ship It [Opbeat]


Comments

    Thanks, about to ship and this put a firecracker up my a$$ :)

    I tend to think that if you have a firm grasp of what you want the software to do, you should know exactly when to ship version 1.0, and it doesn't have to be a buggy mess either.

    Was I the only one who looked at that sign and read "Fuck it, Pirate it"?

    I particularly love it when games companies adopt this motto. Anyone play the pc game Sacred?

    Permanent alpha..

    "Real software crashes, loses data, is hard to learn and hard to use. But it’s a process. We’ll make it less shitty. Just watch! " -- and watch our technical debt soar!!

    "Real software crashes, loses data, is hard to learn and hard to use. "

    Yep, I bet the programmers at JPL adopted that attitude with the Curiosity software.

    Seriously, I'm a software tester. Shipped software only sucks when the people in the project have no idea what they are doing, and/or the programmers think they are so "awesome" that testing is for "girls".

      Are you a girl? :D

    Reminds me of just about any Bethesda game I've bought in the last 3 years.

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