When is good enough?

Eric Ries (from Startup Lessons fame) asked in a post when a product is good enough, specifically referred to product development for startups.

One of the sayings I hear from talented managers in product development is, “good enough never is.”

On the other hand, there are many stories of companies achieving a breakthrough by shipping something that was only “good enough.” One such rumor, which I’ve heard from several sources, tells of the launch of Google Maps.

Eric suggests to use the minimum viable product paradigm to decide when is enough, that is defined as

that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning with the least effort.

Eric is focusing on startups here, where the minimum viable product is a test of a specific set of hypotheses, as what will the customer care about? How will they define quality?

But for any activity (personal, business) when do you decide that is enough good?  Should you always try to reach the perfection a la Steve Jobs?

What I like to do personally is to handle any similar decision as a resource problem: any activity has some constraint, being time or money. You need to decide if improving further the quality is worth the time or costs needed. This is why I always distrust a conclusive statement such as “good is never enough”.

It isn’t.  It depends on the other (scarce) resources!

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