Over-Engineering Is Easy

One of the strangest challenges that a startup or a new project has is over-engineering everything. You would think that a young team would find this issue easy to avoid but it’s actually not.

I think this is made even more difficult if you’re an experienced business-builder. Part of this is because you simply know too much about what is required and so you’re constantly trying to optimize today’s work with what you know will be tomorrow’s work.

In other words, my experience of building organizations and software products can be a serious issue and enemy to velocity, especially in the early stages.

This is partly why I think younger, first-time founders have an intrinsic advantage in that their ignorance and lack of experience is actually a powerful tool that they are leveraging whether they know it or not.

Instead of spending tons of time creating the perfect roadmap or a comprehensive strategy for the product and business, the young and even naive team just focuses on building.

This, of course, is vastly more important than anything else early-stage, especially the strategy part. Older and more “wiser” teams can spend way too much time over-engineering everything (ops, product, marketing, etc…) instead of just building.

Keeping things simple, truly simple, is really hard. The smallest experiments in the beginning are the not only the easiest to create and deploy but also the fastest way to learn what the real needs are for an early customer and what really motivates them to engage and even purchase.

So, if these experiments start getting too large and too complex then you know you and the team are already over-thinking things. The polish and spit-shine will come, but, it doesn’t need to be now, in the early stages.

Just build, build, and build more. You’ll always have time to refine and to make things better. But, you will definitely regret the time you waste trying to guess the future instead of just simply building it.

And if you believe it’s inevitable anyway, then, you really need to start moving faster, a lot faster than you’re doing right now.

Also published on Medium.