Compromise. It's a dirty word. It reminds me of what Peter Skillman highlighted at our ZURBsoapbox last year, "**Beware the lollipop of mediocrity**. Lick it once and you suck forever." Compromise leads product teams astray by giving everyone a false sense of security. A strong product team understands that great things happen when calculated risks are taken.
A designer will tell you that compromise leads to lackluster results. Compromise is the blending of individual ideas, married to create a Frankenstein that's both ugly and uninspiring. Compromise gives us false hope that the team made good decisions for the product. In reality, it's a gamble that covers the roulette table with blacks and reds. Once your team feels comfortable with compromise, your product and services quickly become unremarkable.
So what's a team to do? Here are four ideas for product leaders:
- Not everyone on the team needs to buy into an idea. Just make sure it's a vision that fits with the goals of the company and product. As an example, puce green may not be a team favorite, but there may be a huge audience waiting for it and your designer understands why.
- Support answers you don't like to keep momentum high. Justifying every product decision with a team can be taxing. Sometimes a strong, bad answer is easier to adjust than a watered down answer that doesn't spark anyone. In the online world, things can be changed quickly. Teams enjoy moving forward, not getting stuck.
- Throw away good answers. It's OK to throw away good answers that everyone on the team likes. Push your team find better answers that may not feel very comfortable.
- Customer feedback can help clear up problems. Don't try to tweak every part of a solution to be "ideal." Every once in awhile that "bad decision" might surprise your team when a customer uses your product.
Leading the charge at ZURB since 1998