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When was the last time you played a game of dominos?

The web app domino effect

2014-04-11 22:00:00 (GMT)

East Grand Rapids, Michigan, United StatesNewsSpark is being built by being knocked down.

To call it agile development is to oversimplify an artful process that tests the psyche.

We build a feature.

We create its design.

Then we test. We inspect. Scrutinize every detail.

The domino effect

But touch one element the wrong way, too much or at all — and watch it set off a self-destructive chain reaction across parts of the app. Guaranteed.

It’s the domino effect of agile development.

Fix one working feature. Then fix several related features or sub-features.

Nearly every feature is directly or indirectly connected.

Refine one design element. Then refine every version of it.

A simple user experience isn’t simple. It’s complex.

Try again

Now repeat.

You break down a single functioning feature. Then wait for the tangent of re-building that awaits you.

It’s laborious.

You’re tempted to stop looking for imperfections. To leave the features and design untouched.

Until you see a flaw. An inconsistency. A way to improve.

You assess how much you’d have to re-build — beyond the original pain point. You calculate if it’s worth it.

It is.

Not-yet MVP

It isn’t worth it, you say. Move forward.

But any minimum viable product, or MVP, must be scalable from day one. It must be appealing to beta users. Minimum doesn’t mean broken and dreary.

You return to the app.

You touch features and design at will. You know the consequences.

You watch associated elements across the app fall temporarily. The iterations must get done.

A section here. A section there.

You do it again. And again. And again.

It’s a punishing process. Precise and complete.

Pieces in place

The essential tangents slow and end only when each pathway through the user interface is clear and scenic.

No holes. No snags. No dead ends.

You step back and let the system stand alone — for now

-Chris Ehrlich

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💬 Comments

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Wow, that was informative.  Glad I read it.  Glad you wrote it.

I'm inspired to keep working on my own details and iterations.  I like the MVP acronym.

I hear a lot of coach speak that involves the words "details", and "clean up".  The Red Wings coach (who is well respected) utters those words almost every time he is interviewed pre, or in-game.

posted 3 years ago
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It's a ton of work.  You articulated it well.  Reminds of me of helping develop software for meetings & incentives years ago.  No one can see behind the curtain how much "one little ask" or "feature" takes.  Keep it up!  We're cheering you on!

posted 3 years ago
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