Jason Fried

May 26, 2022

Don't defer quality

Ever find yourself about to ship something that isn't good enough? You know it, you feel it, but you still want to get it out there because regardless of outcome, lots of work went into it. You want something to show for it.

You can often make yourself feel a lot better by wrapping the uneasiness with a statement like "We can always come back and fix it up later".

You can, but you won't.

New priorities pull harder than old ones.

You may add new things later, but coming back to tidy things up later is a different story. I'm not talking about bugs — those you'll probably fix. I'm talking about leveling up quality. A lack of quality rarely qualifies as a bug, and it's hard to justify the time, effort, and tradeoffs required to come back with a polishing cloth down the road. It's not just customer-facing quality either — it's behind the scenes code quality too.

Bad quality gets baked in. It sticks around like cigarette smoke.

Of course not everything deserves the highest fidelity. Perfect UX everywhere is a mirage. Tradeoffs have to be made, and you can often see what a company values by what they leave unfinished or or unloved.

No one's immune, certainly not us. Every product has its dark corners, cobwebs, and junk drawers.

Just be sure to check yourself when you defer "getting it right" to some future imaginary time when you'll have more time to do what you can't do today. It's not going to happen then, so what will you accept now?

The two things we think about at 37signals to keep us honest are 1. the Half not Half-Assed maxim from Getting Real, and 2. our newly codified Seven Shipping Principles. They help us, and I hope they'll help you.

Ideals are hard to live up to, but they're easy to keep in mind.

Happy shipping!

-Jason