How to Work Faster

Wed, Apr 11, 2007

Simplicity Rules

What’s the best way to get something done? Set a deadline. How about getting something done faster? Set an earlier deadline.

Time compression is the concept behind Andrew Chen’s Seven Day Product.

Building products in a very short period of time makes you really boil down what the core mechanic is. What do I mean by core mechanic? I mean the thing that you’re doing 90% of the time. On YouTube that’s watching a video. On MySpace, that’s browsing from one profile to another, or possibly commenting/writing to other people.

A short deadline encourages you to trim to the barest essentials. You probably won’t launch after seven days, but you have a really good prototype. After that, you let some people bang on it, round the corners, add in necessary-but-not-core-features. The more obvious the better.

Andrew has been creating a seven day product the past week. He has some lessons learned about what it takes. Some projects just can’t make it, he says. I’d say that’s because the core mechanic, as he’s calling it, is too complex. It hasn’t been boiled down far enough.

Time compression can do wonders for productivity, creativity, and innovation. It’s easy to get trapped into not believing the arbitrary deadline. It’s important to remember that you only need to accomplish a very little bit during your seven days. All you need is a proof of concept, the important nugget at the center, the core mechanic.

For more ideas on time compression, see the POWER HOUR and the Four Day Work Week.

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  1. 2 Basics for Getting Things Done Faster Says:

    [...] A recent article (Simplicity Rules ยป How to Work Faster) talks about time compression. There are a couple of really good points about “gotchas” with this: It’s easy to get trapped into not believing the arbitrary deadline…All you need is…the important nugget at the center.” [...]

  2. Simplicity Rules » Slides and links from Ignite Portland Says:

    [...] Seven Day Product [...]

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