Being a humble visionary

In the excellent blog entry Let pedestrians define the walkways, Derek Sivers makes an analogy to running a company based highly on user feedback.

In agile software development, the idea of evolving design is considered by many to be the ultimate approach to software architecture. Rather than creating a design and then implementing it, you start coding right off the bat and let the structure reveal itself. The underlying idea is to make decisions as late as possible as this is when you have the most information.

Does this mean, then, that you should not be visionary? Should you never decide on anything but just kind of stumble into things and hope something turns up?

I don’t think so. I more or less used to (in fact, in 2006 I told people not to design before coding), but today I think that planning does in fact do some good. However, I still don’t think that the plan is worth much more than the paper it is written on. Sammy and I have spent quite a bit of time figuring out where we are going with this project of ours. We have a pretty clear vision and a quite detailed road map. However, as soon as we realize that there is something that our users miss, don’t like or ask for, we will take that into account and change this plan accoordingly.

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