Moving, or a great case for "Make, Test, Learn."
In this amazing post by my co-worker Jacque Dahlgren, she talks about the difference between the traditional development cycle of “learn, make, test” and the agile cycle of “make, test, learn.”
In fact, her post was one of the first times (showing you how behind I am) I had ever read about traditional vs. agile development cycles. But after reading it, it was like a revelation. I have always been a “make, test, learn” person — a lot of creative people who were not brought up on digital generally are. Our instinct is to scan the brief, not agonize over it, and dig in and start coming up with ideas on a project right away. That’s what we got into the business for in the first place — to come up with ideas. Getting bogged down in background and learning sometimes stunts the idea process — the less baggage you have, the more ideas you can come up with. The one sentence key benefit was more than enough to get started.
This really hit home for me over the past week, having moved into a new house. The house actually isn’t new, having been built in the late 60s. We were coming from a house that was 700 sq. ft. larger than this one and the new house clearly needed work in the living room and the kitchen. As my wife and I talked over possible improvements and their corresponding budgets, we came to a simple conclusion: let’s live in the space, see how our stuff fits in that space, jump in and then figure out what we’re going to do.
In other words, we were going to “make” something first — move in and just let it happen. Live with it. Then the testing phase would come in, where we would try different things and figure out how we are going to live in the space. And then, from that testing, learn a few things and react accordingly.
The realization is that we figured it out without a lot of learning up front and actually, by jumping in and making a few mistakes along the way learned a lot more valuable stuff about our new house.
I suppose there’s a case to be made for doing a lot of learning up front before you start making something. But I’ll always be a “make first” guy. In our business, makers tend to use their personal experience to inform their work. They bring their own emotion to it. Makers can look at a brief quickly, grab a key benefit, look at a target audience and get to work right away. They aren’t afraid to make mistakes. Their waste baskets are full. For many like me, the learning is actually in the making.
And makers, when writing a blog post, generally have little idea how their post will end. So I’ll just end it now. There, I made something.