Good enough

January 2017

Be satisfied with success in even the smallest matter, and think that even such a result is no trifle. 

— Marcus Aurelius

The principle of good enough dictates that consumers will use products that meet their requirements, despite the availability of more advanced technology. However, good enough is not a phrase most designers are comfortable saying. We are used to being perfectionists, obsessing about the details and making sure that every element of the puzzle fits together perfectly. And guess what, the details do matter and they are what make a great product but the approach we take matters as much as the end result. Instead we need to spend the majority of our time focused on optimizing for learning rather than obsessing on how to design the perfect puzzle piece, especially when we don’t know that it’s the right puzzle piece. Perfectionism is a double edged sword, there is always something that can be added or tweaked about your design. So in other words, get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Let the customer be the one to validate your design by shipping experiments early and often.

Designing using a Growth mindset is a way of thinking that allows us to focus our energy on the things that matter. What is the smallest, lightest, quickest experiment we can test to validate the hypothesis. Don’t try to design something perfect but instead optimize for learning with a large number of small decisive bets. Our goal with these small decisive bets is to optimize the current experience through iteration. Once you know something is working iterate on the design to see if small tweaks can improve the results.


Growth can be a bit like battleship

At Atlassian roughly 20% of our experiments are focused on bigger bets which we determine using The Bowie Scale. Bowies are chances for us to do innovation testing and try to identify new opportunities instead of optimizing the existing experience. Think of it as a game of Battleship where we are trying to explore to find the new local maxima. This is the time that we get to shine as a team and really ship inspiring experiences, hopefully sinking the battleship. Bowies give us a chance to explore our craft, and sweat the details.

Our job as designers is to be able to provide our organizations with insights and learnings to be able to make better decisions faster. When the design satisfies the requirements of the hypothesis and we can make an informed learning based off of the results of the experiment, then the design is good enough to ship.

PS. If this excites you, we have an opportunity open on the Atlassian Growth team for a UX Designer based out of San Francisco, you’ll be running growth experiments and doing anything you can to ship early and often, without letting perfectionism get in the way.

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