Sunday, August 10, 2008

Scope: Less is More

Craig Brown and Kevin and Julian are having an intelligent and thoughtful discussion on product vs project scope. Never one to keep an opinion to myself, I couldn't help but offer my own. I have an opinion on everything, which is not necessarily beneficial. An ex-girlfriend claimed she dumped me because I'd argue with her about whether dirt is brown... [Editor: There were other reasons she dumped you, we decided that one hurt your ego the least.]

Scope is one of the great issues with corporate projects and one of the advantages a start-up has. I don't think the problem is a product or project perspective, but rather a WIMBY perspective.

Many people are familiar with George Carlin's NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), but fewer are familiar with WIMBY (Wanted In My Back Yard).

In corporations, often times projects get funded because different executives/managers can get things they want included in the scope. The project is sold by inclusion, be it to the product or project scope. In either case, because funding can be expanded to meet additional requirements, which need to be added to get buy-in from key executives/managers, the project or product get too big. They suffer from WIMBY

Start-up Advantage
An entrepreneur can only build what they can pay for. I didn't recognize this benefit until I realized one of the advantage a start-up has is limited resources. I can't get more funding without selling what I already have and then doing what the customer wants. Because I have to pay for additions out of sales, my own pocket or consulting arrangements, what we develop has to be simple and clearly present the value we are offering.

Less is more.
[Editor: Your ex doesn't think so...]

Photo credit: Mingfong

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