Getting better, bit by bit
Interviewer: Bob, tell us your impressions of Baby Steps.
Bob WIley: Mash potatos and gravy Marie. I couldn’t be happier about Baby Steps. I was a terrible disaster and now, because of Baby Steps, I’m on tv in front of millions of people. I’m very excited.
…But it did work that way. That’s the miracle of Baby steps. It’s not just this book, it’s this man. It’s the compassion, it’s the dignity, it’s the wisdom. It’s the Horse Sense of this guy that gets you. He actually had me stay here last night in his jammys.
from the movie What About Bob?
Apple knows very well the power of Baby Steps. They’re proving it with the continual improvements to the iPhone.
This week it was discovered that Contacts searching and Meeting invite functionality will be included in the next firmware update for enterprise iPhone users. They could have rushed this feature months before with all the bugs and issues that go with rushed software updates, but they’ve only been adding features when they’re ready and needed.
When the iPhone launched in June 2007, it had a core set of applications and functionality. If it had launched with any fewer features it would be incomplete (some people will argue this). As time has gone on, Apple has added functionality (and fixes) with each successive firmware update. They keep building and strengthening on a solid foundation.
This methodology is emtremely useful – from building houses to building websites. Too many times we try to launch products too quickly and at the same time cram as many features into our products as we can.
This doesn’t imply that you should launch a product and intentionally leave out functionality. It means that you should launch a complete product with a roadmap to the future. There’s simply no way to predict everything your product should do or that consumers will want from it – not even Apple can predict everything. There will always be changes made along the way.
Working this way gives you time to get things right and also has the added benefit of giving your customers something to look forward to.
Baby Steps, people.