If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in the corporate world, it is that a staggering amount of ‘strategic analysis’ is nonsense and guesswork. There’s nothing wrong in admitting that. Figuring out the market, what the future looks like, what users want or heck, even what your own company can do is hard. Bloody hard. Eric Reis says that all startups are experiments and the same can be said for any company in a fast changing industry too.
Most times, you don’t even know what the right thing to do is until you have actually gone out and tried a bunch. Experimenting might be hard if you’re launching spacecraft (and even that doesn’t stop Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos). But if you’re in the software world, there is no excuse for not building a bunch. For not trying a bunch.
Taking years to develop something is a holdover of the industrial age where building anything was extremely resource intensive with a lot of ramp up time.
Software is so nimble and not capital intensive that there is no excuse for trying a lot of things. Companies shouldn’t be sages taking years to predict what users want. Just make some educated guesses, deal with the ambiguity, build it, and see how it works. You don’t even have to ship it – often times just building it and using it will make your organization learn things, and fostering competition to build something better is the way you win.