When people talk about new startups and new products they talk a lot about getting started, and the exciting days leading up to and immediately after launch.
They tend to skip over all the sausage making that happens in between, but that’s where all the magic and all the frustration happens.
This week I published a post on Product Collective that featured Scott Belsky discussing his book The Messy Middle. In the book he discussed three aspects of the messy middle:
- endurance – how to manage and navigate through those lows.
- optimization – how to optimize the things that are working in the product team itself.
- final mile – how to deal with the self-sabotage that occurs towards the conclusion of a bold journey.
This week, I’m sharing a link to that post, Scott’s book, and some resources to help you endure, optimize, and avoid some of the chaos of the final mile.
Hopefully, those resources will help you persevere and survive the messy middle.
How to survive the messy middle
Creating something from nothing is an unpredictable journey. The first mile births a new idea into existence, and the final mile is all about letting go. We love talking about starts and finishes, even though the middle stretch is the most important and often the most ignored and misunderstood. In this INDUSTRY Interview, Mike Belsito talks about this “Messy Middle” with Scott Belsky. Scott literally wrote the book on the messy middle based on his experiences as an entrepreneur and product leader.
Finding your way through the hardest and most crucial part of any bold venture
The Messy Middle is the indispensable guide to navigating the volatility of new ventures and leading bold creative projects by Scott Belsky, bestselling author, entrepreneur, Chief Product Officer at Adobe, and product advisor to many of today’s top start-ups.
Use value-based decision making to endure the messy middle
The middle part of building a product can seem interminable. It’s helpful to have interim milestones to encourage you to keep going. If you provide small bits of value often and then look at the resulting outcome, that can help you to keep going. Use value based decision making to guide those efforts.
Retrospectives help you optimize
Action focused retrospectives are a way for your team to reflect on your past cycle of work, discuss what you’ve learned, identify specific action items to pursue, and follow through on those action items.
Focus on your user’s first mile before your last mile
It’s always been important for your users to understand and properly use the new features you deliver. You’ll have much more interest in helping them use new features properly when you define success based on achieving a specific outcome, instead of merely delivering the features your team said they would deliver. Here are some thoughts on how to help your users implement the solution you provide.