DEATH BY
A THOUSAND
PAPER CUTS

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT IN A COMPLEX WORLD

Alexandra Leisse

VP Product

@troubalex

alexandra@vibbio.com

MY CAREER IN
COMPLEXITY

“Complex things will require complexity.
It is the job of the designer to manage that complexity with skill and grace.”
 
Don Norman

COMPLEXITY
IS RELATIVE

MAGIC
vs

FULL CONTROL

COMPLEXITY
MEANS $$$

WE LOVE
CONSISTENCY

BUILD A CAR

MAINTAINING CONSISTENCY IS HARD WORK

“What’s the most ignored paradox in software development? Every time you add something you take something away.” 
Jason Fried

MODULAR
vs

UNIFIED

DECISIONS
as

CONSTRAINTS

“Features that are simple in isolation
can become a contagion.”
Jon Bolt

GETTING TO
THE BOTTOM
OF IT ALL

“[…] a solution can only be as good as
your understanding of the problem you’re addressing.”

Paul Adams

RUTHLESS PRIORITIZATION

“Any feature that doesn’t help solve problems for your audience should be thought of as a distraction, an unnecessary obstacle that undermines the value of your product.” Jon Bolt

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW

SUMMARY

  • Complexity is a qualitative concept that depends on its context
  • Complex products are generally perceived as superior and therefore more valuable
  • Consistency helps mitigate complexity in interfaces
  • Unlike our code, experiences can only be designed as a whole
  • Complexity and scope are two sides of the same coin
  • Just like scope, complexity needs to be actively managed on all levels, from the inherent complexity of a feature to the complexity of the entire (brand) experience
  • We cannot sensibly scope or design for an acceptable level of complexity without a clear product vision

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked.

The inverse proposition also appears to be true: A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a simple system.
John Gall

TAKK FOR MEG

@troubalex

Product development in a complex world

By Alexandra Leisse

Product development in a complex world

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