37 Signals Has it Right

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37 Signals Has it Right

I truly believe 37 Signals should be emulated as the proper development approach for the forseeable future.  For so many years the trend within the web space has to constantly add more and more features until we are left with swiss army knives that do everything and nothing all at the same time.

If you get a chance please go and read their book – Getting Real – (which is available from their site free if you don’t mind reading it all online, so now what is your excuse?  remind me.) which really majors in quick, streamlined web apps.  They are the leaders in this space right now in my opinion and their methodology for developing streamlined apps is really amazing.

They use a very small development crew.  One coder.  One Designer.  And one sweeper.  The sweeper can move seemlessly between design work and development work.  They keep the team small and the requirements for the product even smaller.  And then they lash together a beta and let it rip.  Being nimble for them is the holy grail and they have become the Davids to so many other Goliaths across the web landscape.   Maybe I’ll speak in more detail about their regard for nimbleness another day as it is a truly critical concept that so many organizations just don’t understand.

“Nimble, agile, less-mass businesses can quickly change their entire business model, product, feature set, and marketing message.  They can make mistakes and fix them quickly.  They can change their priorities, product mix, and focus.  And, most importantly, they can change their minds.”

Ultimately their end game is to come up with needs and they fill them.  They hone in on one particular niche and they do it well.  They fight scope creep with all that is in them and they attack each product with a passion and vigor that is second to none.  Take this example:

“Find someone who’s enthusiastic.  Someone you can trust to get things done when left alone.  Somone who’s suffereed at a bigger, slower company and longs for a new environment.  Someone who’s excited to build what you’re building.  Someone who hates the same things you hate.  Someone who’s thrilled to climb aboard your train.”

Their book is filled with tips like this.  Obvious stuff… but how often do you really see it done?  And what if?  What if, the Christian community were able to pull this stuff off and just wholesale toss the proceeds to charity.  To promote the things that really matter in life as opposed to someone elses bottom line?

What if?