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100% of Something Beats 20% of Everything

Software companies, especially SaaS companies, are constantly adding new features to improve the usefulness of their products. They even invented a term to describe it: continuous delivery.

You most likely are a customer of a SaaS product, and you’ve experienced the good and the bad of continuous delivery. The good is the joy of finding the product has something new that makes it easier to use. The bad is the surprise that awaits you when you log in next and discover something familiar has changed, not in a good way. Continuous delivery is here to stay, and it’s permeating every physical product that relies on software.

Here is where the people who build software fail us. They deliver a little of something for everyone, and they miss the mark. Features lack function. Workflows don’t flow. It requires too many clicks to do things that seem simple to you. So, why does this happen?

It happens because development teams get caught between a rock and a hard place. They try to please internal audiences at the expense of customers. They rationalize that checking off boxes shows progress to satisfy the angry hoards demanding more features faster. It’s far easier to demonstrate progress than it is to push back and do the right thing.

A more effective mindset is to deliver 100% of something rather than 20% of everything. It means that features are complete from beginning to end. It doesn’t mean they are perfect or can do everything imaginable. It means they are thorough. A customer can do something they want to do without resorting to contortions to get it done. It gives them confidence.

Software development projects quickly get out of control when trying to build 20% of everything. It’s called scope creep, and it’s what kills many projects. There are so many moving parts to the project that the entire project is in jeopardy.

Delivering 100% of something requires focus and discipline. It means saying yes to a few things and no to a lot of things.

This same mindset applies to launching products or any go-to-market (GTM) planning. Do 100% of something, not 20% of everything. Otherwise, it dilutes the efforts of the entire effort. For example, if a key result of a launch is to increase customer adoption, focus 100% of launch planning efforts on customer adoption. Anything else is a distraction.

So, today, commit to delivering 100% of something, not 20% of everything.

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