Favoring Unpolished

Have you ever shown a prototype of a potential product to customers (or your own executives) and had them say, "It looks almost finished. When can I have it?" Here's the problem: The state of a prototype implies the state of the product. Cliff Atkinson writes, "When the stakes for your presentation are so high that your business depends on it, wouldn't you want your presentation to be as polished as possible? We would all naturally think so, but sometimes what we see isn't what we get." He continues, "All of their material was correct and 'first-class', but the problem was that the presentation was over-polished."

Recommendation: a prototype should appear as finished as the final product. If there is no code underneath the user interface, the icons should be white squares with the word "icon" on it. Otherwise you imply that the product is more finished than it is.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.


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