Shipping as a beginning, not an end

In Shipping is the beginning of a process, Paul Adams of Intercom writes of the crucial difference between shipping as an end vs. shipping as a beginning.:

“Shipping is not an end goal. Unfortunately too many teams launch and move on to the next thing. Learning from what you shipped takes discipline. The larger and longer the project, the harder it is to stay focused on it and learn. The natural temptation is to take the accomplishment and move on to something new. I’ve been in many situations where some of the best people left the team shortly after a major release. They see it as a natural end to something. We believe that if shipping is the beginning of a process, projects need to be set up and framed that way.”

I think this distinction is a huge part of a product team’s culture. If your culture is celebrating shipping and moving on to the next thing, you probably aren’t learning nearly as much as you should be about what’s working and what isn’t. If your culture accepts shipping as an early milestone but only just the beginning, their mindset will be completely different.

Published: January 15th, 2014