Here is a summary of Getting Real: The smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web application, a book that is written by Basecamp, a SaaS company that provides a remote project management tool.
What is Getting Real About?
Getting Real is jam-packed with practical advice, counter-intuitive viewpoints, and novel methods for software development. This isn’t a how-to guide or a design manual; it’s a collection of ideas. This book will benefit and inspire anybody working on a web app, including entrepreneurs, designers, programmers, executives, and marketers.
The idea behind Getting Real aims to keep your project as simple, clear, and concise as feasible. You end up with a better solution that is more in alignment with the demands of the users and more responsive to the changing needs of your business by decreasing scope and complexity.
Taking a look at the structure of the book, we come to realize that each chapter is brief and to the point. They are further divided into parts with a single message and contain quotes and snippets from noteworthy persons who agree with the Getting Real premise.
How Getting Real Can Help Launch Your Product?
The central theme of the book is a quick product launch. Many excellent ideas come to your customers and clients when they are dreaming, looking at other competitors, or simply thinking that the product may be better. The truth is that a product can always be improved. When you agree to add a certain essential feature that will make the product more efficient, the result is counterintuitive.
A seemingly little modification can alter your initial scope of work, causing the product’s debut to be delayed. In basic terms, Getting Real explains why many new products go wrong by overdeveloping their concept. It also tells you that you should keep some aspects of your product unchanged no matter what. The tips in Getting Real help you to have better updated versions for your newly-launched product.
Is it Really Necessary to Integrate New Features in Your Product?
Sometimes it is. Because if you don’t, you’ll lose your customers or users. Think of huge apps such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. You surely can see great instances among top apps when they try to optimize themselves by adding new features. Instagram added its Reels feature after the popularity of TikTok to keep its users still satisfied; Twitter added the Stories feature some time ago; Telegram added the Live session feature; etc. And Tik Tok continues to respond with new trends like “Hot or Not Composite Image Challenge“. This is a viral challenge that is creating a storm among those that like to create content. It’s a hot new trend that steals the center stage from competitors, and Tik Tok continues to challenge the status quo with new features.
But sometimes it is not. You should aspire to build less than your competition, according to one of the defining ideas of Getting Real. Integrating fewer features results in a clearer, more focused product with less design, development, and maintenance overhead.
Getting Real advocates for a fixed time and budget, but a flexible scope, You should reduce the scope if you can’t deliver the product within the time and budget limits. One of the most appealing aspects of web development is the ability to add functionality later. You end up with a more concentrated product that is delivered when you reduce the scope.
How to Know if it is Time for a Change in Your App?
How would you know that your app needs developments and updates with useful features? It is quite tricky. Here is a piece of worthwhile advice from Getting Real:
“Make each feature work hard to be implemented. Make each feature prove itself and show that it’s a survivor. It’s like “Fight Club”. You should only consider features if they’re willing to stand on the porch for three days waiting to be let in.
That’s why you start with no. Every feature request that comes in to us — or from us — meets a no. We listen but don’t act. The initial response is “not now”. If a request for a feature keeps coming back, that’s when we know it’s time to take a deeper look. Then, and only then, do we start considering the feature for real.”
An awesome example of this is Nifty. Nifty is a superb cloud-based task management software for remote, hybrid, and on-site teams looking to manage their sales process and generate marketing campaigns tailored to their requirements.
Nifty has updated itself through time by adding the most useful features that can be found in several business communication apps and messaging platforms. So, you can access different features all within one app: Nifty. Here are some of the features:
- It is possible to assign, track, and manage tasks.
- Automated processes with a high level of customization.
- You are free to use whatever color scheme you want.
- Third-party apps such as Hubspot, Salesforce, and others can be integrated.
- Keep track of the time you spend on different projects and tasks.
- Exporting and importing views of the map and calendar data for sharing with clients is simple.
- Excel sheets can be added to projects.
- You can message team members privately, so you don’t have to leave the platform to communicate with them through another platform.
- You can also use emojis to respond to messages in conversations.
- Each task has an ID so it is easy to find them.
- In the two or three seconds that you are waiting for the software to reload, you get a motivational quote from a famous person.
- Nifty has a generous free plan!
Getting Real – How to Make Changes and Add Features?
One thing you should pay special attention to is that you cannot create a product with every functionality that you can think of from the very beginning, even before your first launch. Can you remember the first version of Instagram? Did it have features such as Stories, IGTV, Live, etc.? Or, is the current version of Facebook similar to the one that you used 10 years ago? Of course not. There are several reasons for it:
- Technology is always growing and is opening new horizons to businesses.
- Customers’ and clients’ preferences are always changing regarding the features of other apps or products that they use.
- It takes time and requires budget to develop new features and launch them.
Here are some tips based on Getting Real that can help you make changes and add features to your app:
1. Set a List of Goals
Set a timeline and make a precise list of all the goals you want to attain at the end. Remember that these can be changed as you are not alone in the industry and your competitors may change the preferences of your audience and users. And it is inevitable! You’ll eventually develop something, with a tiny possibility of meeting deadlines and staying within the previously set budget. The real budget will almost always be larger, and deadlines will be pushed back. But, always think of this advice from Getting Real in the moments of constraints:
“Instead of freaking out about these constraints, embrace them. Let them guide you. Constraints drive innovation and force focus. Instead of trying to remove them, use them to your advantage.”
2. Reduce the Mass of Project
When you minimize the scope of a project, you can also significantly lower the project’s overall mass. Projects with a lower mass are more adaptable to market needs and requirements. This puts you ahead of your competitors, who take months, if not years, to respond to client input.
3. Get Your Priorities Right
You need to have your priorities straight if you want to launch your product quickly. The smaller features can be overlooked during the early stages of product development. You will never finish the product if you concentrate on the details too early. Rather than getting obsessed with the small stuff, get as many rough functional prototypes into as many hands as possible. Prior to focusing on the details, refine the major ideas.
In fact, this is something you should keep in mind when you are hiring people as your team members. Regardless of how skillful and creative they are, they have to know when to ignore what. They should know that sometimes it is a waste of time and resources to do a task. They should be able to recognize the essential tasks and bring them to the workflow to increase the overall efficiency.
While you should pay attention to what your customers have to say, you simply can’t let it influence your strategy and affect your priorities. Rather than caving into every feature request a potential customer makes in order to use your product, you should design the best answer to the problem you’re trying to solve.
4. Choose the Best Feature
Naturally, your clients will have a long list of features that they wish to see in your product. As we quoted from Getting Real earlier, when it comes to feature requests, you should always say no. Adding new features to a product increases its complexity and maintenance costs. Adding something new entails not only the writing of code, but also the design of the user interface, documentation, support materials, marketing materials, and a slew of additional expenses.
Rather than creating features for each individual request, strive to provide generic tools that allow your customers to address their problems on their own terms. People want to use a product that works for them. You’ll never be able to create tools tailored to each customer’s exact process. You are not born to satisfy everyone, and it applies both to your personal and professional lives.
Make sure that you spend a certain amount of time looking for the best option for your next app feature. As we elaborated earlier, customers and clients define the feature list and development direction based on their industry knowledge and data. In other words, they come into the realization of the existence of features and capabilities by looking at other similar products and they shape new preferences and expectations.
With a thorough investigation of which features to implement based on your abilities, tools, and budget, you can make new changes to your product. You’ll notice what solutions are good and what portions of the design need to be revised. It will save resources and make it easier to adjust the workflow.
5. Launch Your Product Now
Do you know why some people never buy a house, start a business, get married, get a driving license, etc. even at an old age? Because they are perfectionists and idealists. They are afraid of taking risks and getting defeated. They actually don’t want to get defeated at all because it hurts them. So, they prefer to sit and do nothing for years.
The same concept applies to business and product launches. Put your fears behind and take courage in taking risks. The longer you wait to put your product out there for the world to see, the longer you will delay discovering whether or not the market wants it. The more you hide your product from the market or in complicated specification paperwork, the more expensive it will be to realize it.
Don’t aim to create the ideal product; instead, create something you can ship and release into the market. You can start iterating on consumer input and real data after you have real-world usage. Launch your product now so you can begin learning the feedback loop.
Final Thoughts on Getting Real
From conception to execution and launch, Getting Real will help you with its professional tips. The book is anything but boring and keeps you entertained as well as motivated to both finish the book in one sitting and to start your product launch quickly thereafter. If you work as a developer, designer, or product manager on web apps, you owe it to yourself to read Getting Real and use it as a guide for producing high-quality, profitable products.
As businessmen are usually busy and find little time to spend on reading a book, we decided to create an insight into Getting Real. What you have read was a summary of Getting Real which aimed at telling you the gist of the book within some paragraphs. Do your best to use the tips mentioned above and launch your product as soon as possible. Wish you the best of luck!