When it comes to a startup and new product development, both things-efficiency and effectiveness are critical. You don’t have the resources to spend lavishly, but at the same time, you can’t build something substandard in the first go, something which does not add any value sufficiently to your customers. Hence, every startup needs to build right & build tight. But what exactly we mean by efficiency & effectiveness? These are very broadly used terms and when they are used lightly, they actually don’t convey the practical contextual meaning. We, along with our clients had long deliberations on basic guidelines we would follow for the discovery & development of the product we are about to develop, and the first step was to define the meanings of these terms. Define the guiding principles in terms of efficiency & effectiveness. Of course, these definitions are not complete; they weren’t meant to be. It was meant to remind us of where our priorities lie and where should we focus our efforts.

This realization was our first lesson, that you won’t be able to do everything. There will always be tread-offs and we will need to focus our energies on what matters most.

Now when it comes to the developing a new product, ideas are abounding. Everyone tries to bring in the features that they like or want in the product. There is also a tendency to get inspired by other successful apps. After all, everyone wants to be another Uber or Netflix, right? And hence, from design to development, from the UI/UX to functionality, we seek abundance. We want every design surprise, every animation possible, everything that can dazzle the user into “Wow”, we want it all there. We also want users to be able to do just about everything. And we want all these immediately, we want all of this performing at the best. In short, we want it all.

Is “everything” required though for launching a successful product? Turns out it is not. And it’s not possible too. Every successful product launches with a minimum set of functionalities and then might go on adding features which makes the core value stronger. It might also diversify, but that decision comes through maturity. But at the start, it only has as much as it needs to survive.

This translated into our efficiency guideline.

“We will do only as much as absolutely required. If we think the business and the product can survive without it, we won’t do it, no matter how fascinating, awesome or exciting it may sound and no matter who the idea has come from.”

The effectiveness principle needed to be closely aligned with the efficiency principle. Because to do things which matter, you first need to know what those things are. How do you know those things? It’s only by trying out. It’s only by seeking feedback from the people who actually do those things. Set software development processes with feedback from software developers, set business rules with the feedback from business people, decide on the features set by seeking feedback from the actual users. That gives you most honest feedback. And this formed the backbone of our effectiveness principle.

“Always decide the future based on the feedback from the people who are actually invested in the process. To do that, create opportunities to obtain the right feedback at shortest intervals possible.”

To do both these things, you need to have open, collaborative culture. Thankfully, our clients were on board with us and we continue to implement these (and other) principles as we progress. We are going to share our experiences and learning, so keep watching this space. We would also love you to share your experiences and feedback so that as a community, we keep on improving ourselves.