The joke for developing technology is “fast, good, and cheap…pick two.” What is one consideration for developing technology that meets two of these criteria?
To help you develop “fast, good, and cheap” technology that meets two of these criteria, we asked technology experts and entrepreneurs this question for their best insights. From developing a minimum viable product to prioritizing user experience, there are several tips that may help you develop your own technology.
Here are ten considerations for developing technology that is fast, good, and cheap:
- Develop a Minimum Viable Product
- Be Wary of Sacrificing Security
- Keep Up With The Pace of Innovation
- Know What Your Audience Needs
- Find a Responsive Developer
- Spend Time on Troubleshooting
- Be Hyper Clear on What You Need
- Have a Low-Cost Differentiation or Add Value With Features
- Understand the Iron Triangle
- Prioritize User Experience
Develop a Minimum Viable Product
This is actually a great analogy that I have used often in my career. The key is to understand what your core priorities are and, in terms of developing technology, the objective is often to try and fail fast. I would therefore advise my clients to focus on developing something fast and good, then test and repeat the process if necessary. The big idea here is to break down the development process into several pieces, the first of them being the creation of a minimum viable product (MVP) that you can use to get customer feedback. This version of the product doesn’t need any bells and whistles, it need only be ‘good’ enough for people to get a feel for what the product is meant to do. Then, once you are sure you have a ‘good’ product that your customers express interest in buying and using, you can focus on making it ‘better’ by adding more features.
Amy Zwagerman, The Launch Box
Be Wary of Sacrificing Security
When you choose only two of the three attributes that everyone wants out of technology, “Fast, Good, and Cheap”, you are undoubtedly sacrificing security to get there. Especially any technology that is Fast, or Cheap. So when you are creating tech, be sure to carefully consider security before aiming for Fast or Cheap. Fast and Cheap lead straight to your tech being vulnerable.
Eric Florence, Security Tech
Keep Up With the Pace of Innovation
At basic, you need your technology to perform well if you want people to use it. People seek out technological innovations to make life more convenient and solve common issues. No matter the cost or the pace of development, you need technology to be ‘good’ at something if you want it to exist. But it is worth understanding too that technology as an industry develops at breakneck speed. If you have an innovative idea, you have to quickly bring it to fruition because odds are someone else is already ahead of you. This speaks to the importance of developing technology fast. It doesn’t matter how good your idea is if it’s already been done before you have the chance.
Bill Mann, Restore Privacy
Know What Your Audience Needs
Good is non-negotiable. You and your customers need technology that works. Then, if you can only choose between cheap and fast, determine which the target audience cares more about. Ask yourself why the target audience needs the technology and what product characteristics will serve them best. If you can’t have it all, you can have what you need.
Hector Gutierrez, JOI
Find a Responsive Developer
As the CEO of a tech startup company, my biggest advice for creating fast and good solutions is to find a developer who values concise, steady communication. Nothing’s worse than trying to work out bugs when your developer is not responsive. It’s hard for any tech-based operating model to survive that. Beyond responsiveness, they should be innovative enough to create technology with customer needs in mind. If you’re wondering how to get technology developed for a cheap rate, ask yourself if that’s really the best route to take. That’s because skilled labor isn’t cheap, and cheap labor isn’t good. You really do get what you pay for!
Rachel Blank, Allara
Spend Time on Troubleshooting
Striving to develop technology too fast, without spending the proper funds for troubleshooting, means a technical debt that comes at a price. When technology or software is released too soon, consumers often become aware of underlying problems and have numerous errors and issues as a result. This not only hurts the perception of your technology but also hurts your brand as a developer, meaning lost income and other intangible values over time. Don’t try to push the trial stage of your tech onto consumers, so that your consumers are the ones doing the work of troubleshooting. No deadline is worth meeting if it means hurting your brand in the long run.
John Jacob, Hoist
Be Hyper Clear on What You Need
The biggest consideration when developing technology that meets two of the fast, cheap, good dichotomy is to be hyper clear on what you need. Clarity makes it easier to develop quickly if everyone knows where they’re headed. To get the “cheap” part, you need to have done all of the thinking and heavy-lifting to find a pure implementer. If you want to achieve good and fast, then you need to have the budget to pay for the best AND the clarity to empower that team to be successful. You need to be open to their expertise, however, and be ready to iterate. Cheap and good is the hardest as you just often get what you pay for.
Larissa Uredi, No-Where Consultants
Have a Low-Cost Differentiation or Add Value With Features
Two different ways to create product or service value for customers. The first is by having low-cost differentiation. You create customer utility (value) by providing a comparable or better product at a lower price. To make this work, you have to have a low-cost structure to enable this strategy to be profitable. If you don’t, you risk having competitors, with better cost structures, who can match or even lower your pricing. This is the strategy of companies like Spirit Air, Costco, Casio, and others. Also called a “more for less” strategy. You are faster, better, and less expensive than your competition offering similar products and services. The other approach is to add value to your product by adding more features and performance but charging a higher price. Think about Tesla, Apple, and Rolex being companies that use this strategy. You are creating a “more for more” product and pricing strategy. The joke is when companies choose one but don’t have the skills to execute it successfully.
Vincent Ferraro, San Diego State University
Understand the Iron Triangle
This is something we PMs learn in Project Management kindergarten called the Iron Triangle. It goes like this: draw an equilateral triangle. Then label the points as money, date, and scope. Now, the rule of the Iron Triangle: you can optimize any project for one of these. You can usually optimize for two. But there’s a catch: the third one might have to flex A LOT to make that happen. You can never optimize for all three. If you tell me we have to deliver by May 1, that is going to happen…but I might put three teams on the project instead of one, or cut your scope. When you try to get all three parts of the Iron Triangle, you just end up killing the fourth element: quality. The Rule of the Iron Triangle, like the rule of gravity, is a fact of life.
Angela Druckman, The Druckman Company LLC
Prioritize User Experience
The user experience should be your greatest consideration. Speed is a major consideration when it comes to user experience. The most satisfied clientele are those who have access to a great product at a fraction of the cost they might pay elsewhere. You have access to tons of inexpensive innovative tools online that create engaging high-quality user experiences. At the same time, it doesn’t cost nearly as much to develop new technology as it used to. Use modern tools and technologies to your advantage.
Ed Stevens, Preciate