5 Pitfalls of Poor Design

When launching a new product, or running a startup you are constantly under the gun to deliver results quickly. Unfortunately in the mayhem quality standards can be sacrificed or set aside temporarily.
The typical startup strategy aims to capture market share and fix problems later.   A Startup should not and cannot wait for a product to be 100% perfect to ship.  However, there is a big difference between a product that has intrinsic poor design and a product that is well designed but has some performance issues or problems that can be fixed without a major rework. It maybe OK to ship one, it is not OK to ship the other.

Consider the following 5 pitfalls of poor quality products:


Poor design drives poor design.

The broken windows theory is a theory of human behavior stating that well maintained neighborhoods continue to experience low crime rates, while poorly maintained ones experience increasing crime rates. The reasoning is that people tend to be influenced by their environment of what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior. This is a very applicable theory in product design. Products with good initial design, continue to experience design improvements over time because every subsequent designer will follow previous quality standards. On the other hand, a designer asked to modify an existing product with poor design will not pay serious attention to quality, proper documentation, or testing standards. Therefore, ensure that the core of your product is very well designed, very well documented and have strict guidelines on product verification.

Future Scalability

A product with poor design can work for a small subset of users and use cases.  However, the product they will not be able to cope as demand and capacity requirements scale. The result is a multitude of system issues, customer dissatisfaction and lost revenues.

It is not possible to post design quality.

Startups and organizations that aim to release a product to the market quickly kid themselves that they can go back and fix all the “issues” later. This is a fallacy.   The core or infrastructure of a product can not simply be modified.  Many other system components are built on top of it and interact with it. Any change in the core of the system will create a ripple effect within the system being modified resulting to unforeseen, and sometimes unfixable, system issues.   What most organizations end up with is having to completely revamp the core design of their system which is a waste of time, effort, and money.

Future Ghost Problems.

One of the major problems in complex system design are ghost problems. Ghost problems are typically software issues that result from a specific set of circumstances that are difficult to identify or reproduce.  Ghost problems are a major source of future risk for the product manufacturer and product users.  Often, ghost problems start to show up frequently in certain customer clusters which can cause bad press and long term consequences depending on the servrity of the problem and degree of spread.

Future Operational Efficiency.

The failure to design quality into a product from day 1 will result in higher operational costs down the line. Systems with poor design are more expensive to maintain and experience higher than normal failure rates.   A customer experience glass walls is created which limits both the objective and subjective quality a customer would experience with the product.

In short, make sure you are not sacrificing the future for quick wins in the short term.

PalGeek Inc. is a Canadian technology company focused on helping business clients around the world compete in a world always in motion.

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