in Process

Design Early, Design Often

In the latest issue of New Architect Alan Cooper espouses his usual philosophy: ‘Simply put, there is no downside to designing before coding.’

In the same issue, a member of the Mozilla QA team advises, ‘Release early, release often, and let your customers bang on it.’

Certainly two different approaches, but both valid I think. They could be seen as compatible in a couple ways:

  1. different approaches for different products: only some customers will tolerate being part of the QA process
  2. different stages of the same product: you could do all the design first and then take a ‘release early, release often’ approach to development.

Although this last approach implies the dev team needs rapid feedback because sufficient cycles weren’t built into the design process. However, I could imagine a product that, even after a Cooper-style design stage, still needed to draw out tricky technology implementation issues.