Notes for Perfectionist Developers

The rush to market is common and apps reach the market not completely developed, untested or without much in the way of marketing support.  On the other end of the spectrum are the perfectionists – developers who won’t release anything until it really is perfect.   This post is for you.  The hard core perfectionists out there.

The number one thing about perfection is that it is quite nearly impossible to achieve.   By the time you actually achieve what you thought would be perfection, your standards for it will have changed.   You work a little more to make your app perfect and realize that well, for it to be truly perfect you need to add this or that.   In consequence, one of three things happens:

One, you get discouraged and give up.

Two, you keep working at it for years but someone else with the same idea beats you to market.

Three, you resolve that your high standards are better than what is out there now, and you release it.

Perfection does not go hand in hand with productivity or profits.   It does not mean to drop your high standards – keep your high standards, but base the release of your product more upon realistic and attainable measurements.   Your goals should tie somewhat more into your original vision of the app and somewhat less upon all of the the “add-ons” that you think of during the process of finishing it.  Weigh each item according to whether it is critical, essential and logically part of its basic functions or whether the additional feature is simply nice to have.   Special features that may take a few hours or days to add and test are one thing, items requiring weeks should be set aside for upgrades and follow-on apps.

As a developer, it is important to accept that there will be some devices and special circumstances in which your app will not perform as intended.   Realistically, you might expect to resolve about 80-90% of these issues, with consideration about the severity of the problem.  In games, especially MMO’s you will be held to a higher standard – some players will go through fits if a skill or gear is even a few points off.  In those cases, it may be easier to simply change descriptions of how things work than change how they do work.

One other note on perfectionism with mobile app development that goes for everything.  Six months down the road, you may come back and look at your code and say, “OMG!  the code is awful… and look at that, that’s just terrible… I can’t believe that I actually produced it.”   That’s part of the process, it shows you’ve developed – improved your knowledge, skill and expectations.

So… if you are a perfectionist and you know it, if you are happy with your app now – see what other people think, don’t be afraid to get feedback from others.  If they like it as is – go with it.   Use your high standards to your advantage.

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Project Manager at the Opera Mobile Store providing Sales-Marketing support. Content development and research.

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