Sketching with Code

Demonstrable productivity over time

Graph of productivity over time

Quick hacks are great for testing out an idea, getting started on something quickly, instilling a feeling of “this doesn’t have to be slow and painful”, and so on.

And getting something demonstrably “done” very quickly is a very positive experience.

There’s a problem though - if you do things quickly, people unfamiliar with the way things work can get the wrong impression about how hard stuff can be, and getting something on a screen quickly doesn’t mean that should you want to take the hack and turn it into a real product, that it will take any less time. It’s just that you get to validate some assumptions, try stuff out with users earlier so perhaps you’ll waste less time doing the wrong thing.

There’s always a slow-down on any project that goes from “hack” to “real thing”. It’s to be expected. The speed of getting something “demonstrably done” decreases, and the time it takes to make new features goes up as any software project gets more involved. It’s just the way it goes.