We Can’t Launch That
We’ve all been there. We’ve been at the moment where a feature for our application has to be there and it must be done a certain way. You’ve thought it through, you’ve crafted a solution, and you’re excited about what you’re going to create. But then, someone tells you that you don’t have the time or resources to do it by the next release. The bomb has been dropped, what are you going to do?
I think in this moment there are three main routes you can take.
You Don’t Do It
Sometimes that thing you think you need so badly isn’t even something you really need. If you’ve put in the time and thought that my dramatic intro suggests you have probably already vetted the feature pretty thoroughly. But you can use the “we can’t do it” moment as an opportunity to sanity check yourself. Is this truly useful for our users? Maybe it’s from an old parking lot list of features, and it’s not even relevant anymore. It’s never bad to ask yourself this question, even if you’ve been thinking and planning a feature for a while, or even if you perceive it as important in the moment.
Another good question to ask yourself is, “Do I really need this right now?” We sometimes have a bad habit of solving problems we don’t have yet. It makes sense, we’re always thinking about users and the problems they’ll encounter, or our system and the little things we want to perfect and offer users to make their experience better and better. Those problems might be real, but sometimes they’re just not a problem yet. It’s always good to ask this to ensure that you don’t paralyze yourself for no reason.
Do Something Else
At the core of this feature should be a value to the users of your product. At its core, you should be solving a problem. The next option is to find a different way to solve that problem. This means it’s time to get really creative with how you approach this thing. It’s time to think about it from a totally different slant. It’s time to go all MacGyver on it, look at what you have available, and still craft an awesome solution. This can actually lead to something great. Maybe you were making it too complicated and you find it should actually be simpler, or maybe you find an easier, faster way to solve it. This can be a great way to keep yourself sharp and really analyze your work and the steps involved in it.
Lay the Groundwork
This can piggyback off the last two routes, or can stand on its own. This is where you ask the question, “Is there something we can do now that will make this easy to implement later?” That feature might need a foundation to stand on before it should even be brought to life, a foundation that you haven’t built yet. This is a great opportunity to break your feature down into its simplest pieces and tackle it step by step. Maybe it’s not as complex as you think, maybe it’s more complex. Either way, this allows you to get easy wins, create momentum, and really knock the thing out, which is what you want in the first place. No one loves a long, drawn out project. Turn your large project into a set of easy wins, however, and you can plow through it.
It’s easy to panic or get offended or angry when you’re told that you can’t do something. But inside that moment, there is opportunity. You just have to keep your wits about you, stay calm, and think it through. Your job is important and what you do matters, but chances are a feature on a website isn’t a life or death situation. Transform that problem into an opportunity to do something better and into an opportunity to challenge yourself and grow.