At the height of the dot-com bubble everything was a secret. You never told anyone what you were doing until you were ready to ship your first release. Even interviewing for a job required a non-disclosure agreement. The idea was to make a gigantic splash when you premiered your product and make or break your company in a couple of weeks. It took a lot of planning.
People see it differently now and many successful companies start slowly and build up from there. They don’t plan too far in the future, and for good reason.
In the dot-com boom there were many companies who spent two to three years creating their product only to find out that the market had shifted and the time had passed them by. After enough public failures the pendulum swung back to what we have now. So how important is planning to your application?
Without planning you’ll never have unity, but more importantly you’ll never take the time to create a vision for your product. A bad plan is better than no plan at all. With a bad plan you can see where you are and make improvements. Without one you just float around from one feature to the next.
“Plans are useless but planning in invaluable.”
Winston Churchill said that. The key is to let go of your plans once you’ve made them.
You released your application a month late? Don’t worry about it. An extra month is nothing if you got a better application.
Didn’t’ finish your biggest feature? Not a problem, as long as you have something compelling without it.
Never finished deciding what your application really does? Now you have a really big problem.
Plans might be useless, but vision is required. You absolutely must have a vision of what your application does and who it helps. But that doesn’t mean the vision should be set in stone. Most companies don’t end up doing what they started out doing.
Being prepared to change your vision and your plan doesn’t mean the planning was useless. Take the time to make a clear vision, you’ll be surprised how much better your work is.