Don't Neglect Clarity

Don't Neglect Clarity

What leads us to neglect the simple act of clarity?

I recently found myself working with a young startup where there was a complicated policy of how a persona was expected to behave with the software and the repercussions. Because it was so complicated, the team barely understood it and worse, the application didn't enforce it. Consequently, the persona, without boundaries, continued with their negative behavior without

When I asked where the "business rules' 'were, they were nowhere to be found. Since it was sort-of in their heads, everyone had a
different take on what it did, didn't do or should do. Good times.
Time to clarify it all.

Early in my software career, I was routinely tasked to write System Requirements Specifications (SRS in Waterfall language). These were generally over 100+ Word Documents with business rules, screen mockups, confirmation and error messaging etc. While it could be a long process taking 3-6 months with lots of meetings, presentations, sign-offs, the overall goal was about gaining
alignment and clarity before moving forward.

While I would never do that today, I believe that experience has given me an exceptional ability over the years to make sense of the
nonsensical. To untangle the mess. To make things clear.

So I rolled up my sleeves last week, researched the expectations, simplified the policy and wrote it all down in a 2 page document,
titling it a "Business Rules v1 - DRAFT PROPOSAL".

Stakeholders could all read, review and give their feedback. The entire team could talk it through and we'd revise it together. I'm happy to say we are very close to having this document complete and everyone having the same clarity unlocking us to fully enforce

It was a welcome surprise to everyone including the founder that we could sit down and have these conversations, make revisions etc. I pointed out how much easier, cheaper and faster it is to do
this with words.

Therefore, my first tip to all the Product people out there is make sense of
the nonsensical. Use your tool of choice that can lead to rapid iteration. For some that might be writing it down like me or that might be a pencil sketch, a whiteboard drawing or a wireframe etc. These are tools for making sense and getting on the same page. Don't skip the step
of clarity.

---- Send me you your feedback, thoughts and suggestions. I will read
every single one. Looking forward to sharing other observations, tips and tricks from my experience taking products 0-1. Big thanks to my friends John
Cutler and Heidi Helfand who've inspired me to go on this journey.

Much love,

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