Friday 23 December 2016

I want it to be good, cheap and fast

Negotiating with clients is topic of its own. Most likely there are whole books written on that subject. And even though there are multiple levels of understanding client perspective and discussing it, there is one I want to discuss today. The triangle of quality, speed and price.

Imagine you can drag the circle in the middle of the triangle to any direction. You can remain in the middle and have balance of product that is not very expensive, not very fast and not very good. Doesn't sound like the most appealing choice.

It is best to try to reach two properties. This of course means that the last one on the very opposite will be neglected.

Good and cheap

You can provide extensive quality for quite reasonable price. The downside is, it will take time. Lots of time.

Doing the market and user research, performing series of brainstorming, sketching the possibilities, decided on the optimal technology, developing the product, testing the product, etc. This all provides quality as much as it increases time it takes.

End result will be great, it won't be expensive. It just takes quite some time to arrive to it. After all, quality does not grow on trees.

Cheap and fast

Little bit of opposite is making cheap product very fast. You can skip the research, brainstorming, sketching, wireframing, you can quickly code something and glue it with duct tape. But it will not provide quality for you users nor you and the thought of redeveloping it will make all developers scream in fear.

You will have something. You will have it fast and you will not pay much for it. But that something might be rather useless to you in the long run.

Fast and good

This is the option picked by clients who have infinite pockets, not so good planning but understanding of quality translating to reputation and satisfaction which potentially also translates to revenue.

You can perform all the necessary preparation and development in time as long as you employ more people to do it. Those people will work overtimes, shift priority from other projects. More teams working together to provide quality in limited time is expensive though.

This option gives you very good product in short time. For this though, you need to have some serious money.

Good, fast and cheap

This is the impossible option majority of inexperienced clients want. For some this is because of lack of understanding. But there is no magic here. It is very simple. You cannot build entire house without any mistakes in a single day with only one worker.

You have to decide whether you want to have:

  • house that will last apocalypse while being cheap but it will take years to build,
  • house that is built fast and cheap but will fall apart next winter,
  • house that will survive everything while being build in a month, but you gonna need some serious manpower and money to pay it.

Mongolian clusterfuck

Mongolian clusterfuck is a notion that if it takes 1 woman 9 months of pregnancy to have a child, if you get 9 women pregnant, it will take only 1 month to have a child.

It is important to mention that even if you pick an option with speed in it, it will still take some amount of time. Even if you throw money and manpower at the problem, it will take time. Some problems cannot be divided into lesser problems. Some problems cannot be divided among people. Some problems just take time to solve.

Pick two

Educate your clients about this. Do not let them ask you for miracles. And if you see the wrong attitude inside your company, if you see people in your midst that do not understand this, educate them as well. Because misunderstanding or ignoring of this very basic concept can create tons of stress, unwanted problems and avoidable delays.

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