What Have You Deployed Today?

Some of you have been around web design long enough to remember the 4Ds (Discover, Plan, Design/Develop, and Deploy) that were so popular in agency marketing materials in the late 90s.

At the time, I once asked my CEO about them (he wrote the marketing copy)

“Well, we don’t do them on all the projects. Clients actually only care about the last one.”


So, the rest are for showing how unfamiliar with the client’s domain we are?

A while back, Jason Fried recounted those days:

“In 3 weeks we managed to tell them exactly what they already knew while also burning through 15% of the budget.”


He continues in the comments

“…you don’t really know if something is right until you do the real thing.” – Jason Fried

On my internal projects (the ones that lead to interesting clients), here’s my process

  1. Sketch out the primary screen on a 3×5 notecard.
  2. Draw out the database schema (I understand more about an app via its DB schema than a wireframe or UI).
  3. Build the smallest functioning app possible.
  4. Deploy. Public or not, deploying makes it real.
  5. Build the app better.
  6. Repeat 4-5 indefinitely.

Eating your own dog food

“We starting doing release cycles that were only a few hours apart, re-releasing every time we fixed a significant problem. ” – Andy Hertzfeld on making the original Macintosh OS.

“So. We all know we should ship early, ship often. That small, achievable goals are the best. That having something useful and publishable within a day or two or three trumps planning everything perfectly to the nth degree.” – Amy Hoy