This is part 10 of a 13 part series.
Once the beta version of a product is internally tested it is released for the users in limited capacity for feedback. The teams eagerly parse the user responses and try to incorporate as many requests as they can to make the product more “desirable”. This is the final stage before the product is released for the entire target user base. A moment of truth, so to say. A failure at this point means all the efforts and vision needs to be redone or idea needs to be shelved in some anonymous space somewhere no one will ever bother to venture.
For a professional this moment of truth is the response of people around. Possibly the biggest threat to career related rational decisions in any industry. A clash of reason and emotion based on accolades or caustic remarks. Any amount of efforts cannot immune a professional from being indecisive at key moments in a successful career. The human nature often overwhelms the rational decision making system. The real help comes from the people around the individual. The extended moral system one develops through relations over the years.
The catch being the side one picks between alphas and betas. Easy to join the majority or be moral and join the strong willed minority. The value system of every individual is scrutinized by such moments. The easier choice is to accept the calls suggested by majority but the rational mind does keep defying such choices for a lifetime giving, rise to lifelong regret. It is like the initial measurement error of an apparatus, if allowed to keep accumulating long enough, can cause the entire experiment to fail. A small error at this point can lead to ending up drifting left unknowingly over the years.
The solution is regular evaluation of the choices being made and confirming the validity of primary factors helping in making those decisions. The professional setup is a very dynamic scenario. The factors involved often change at levels unknown to individuals, making it more difficult to constantly adapt.
With lack of information about future, at least staying honest with the initial choices makes some sense. The values that guided an individual through the initial phases of development cannot be abandoned for a short term gain. Those values form the core of any human being’s character, not just some optionally desirable virtues one could develop as hobbies. Hence, the change in drifts in the intellectual curve demands contribution from all systems involved in an individual’s life.
If not fixed the user acceptance keeps demanding more desirable features asking for redesign and subsequent cycles, resulting in an eternal alpha phase. It is the end of life for a product even before it reached all its users. It not just a failure in terms of money but it also put the entire team involved in a regressive mindset before they can innovate again. The lost time is the biggest damage for innovation. Scrapping through the carcass of a dead product can indeed teach some valuable lessons but a better approach from beginning can actually teach more.