I finished reading Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug a few weeks ago. As I closed the book I started thinking about when I read his first book, Don’t Make Me Think. It had been so long I couldn’t remember a big takeaway from it. Which made me decide that I need to actively think about the most important lesson I learn as I’m finishing these books. I just read them, close them and remember what I remember. But I don’t stop to critically think about them and go beyond the things that stick in immediately. I need to apply them to something I’m working on so they actually make me better at what I do.
So, what did I get from this book? If it’s only one thing, what did I get?
I have to start tweaking my way to a great app rather than pushing the whole project right on through. Pushing a project right on through does not work. It does not work. It just doesn’t. Maybe in the places that full on embrace UX and give it the time it needs to work in all its glory. But I haven’t found one of those places yet. (If you’re one of those places take a look at my portfolio and feel free to get in touch. I think we could be very happy together).
But, lets get to my story and explain how Mr. Krug has had an affect on yet another UX professional. I had never been accused of being a perfectionist until I got into this line of work. But lo, during my first big project it reared its ugly head. Just out there in the open: ‘Brooke is a perfectionist’. All of a sudden my nice cute little ‘attention to detail’ had taken an ugly turn and morphed into a giant monster that followed me. It feasted on my suggestions and kept them from reaching the light of production. I was defeated. Heartbroken. I had tested and tested this project. Looked at it forward and backward and fought for my users. But in the end I lost. This ugly beast of perfection had reared its head and everyone in my company ran from me and this unfortunate new friend of mine in fear. Abandoning what could have been a great product. Why had they asked me to focus on the user if they didn’t actually want it? That’s probably a question for another day.
So, as I said, a few weeks ago I’m wrapping up Steve’s book and he gave me the freedom to tweak.
Now all of these suggestions the stupid perfectionist beast ate don’t seem so lost. Steve gave me permission to push for them in the day two release and maybe not feel like such a failure to the users. The changes that are going out are still quite an improvement on the current product and while it’s not quite perfect, it’s a step in the right direction. I haven’t gotten a firm commitment as to when day two development will start, but it’s coming. I’ll make sure of it.
Thanks, Steve – on behalf of my users and myself.