Make a Shitty First Draft a Priority for Your Startup Project

Make a shitty first draft a priority for your startup. Your shitty first draft needs you. What I mean is that your service, product or killer app needs a version of itself. And that means you need to be Dr. Frankenstein and birth that monster.youngfrankenstien

Mark it. Draw a circle on the calendar. We started our transition from customer into feature design sprint. We spoke with 46 college students and professors. Distilled the data points into a ten question survey. Analyzed over 70 responses. This is the time. This week we turn our attention to compiling the features, design, and platform for our group study organization application.

Erika and I kicked off our feature and design sprint on Monday this week. A week prior to this meeting we blended agile development user story decks and short stories to set fictional scenarios about how our customers might use our app. The exercise allowed us to break the data into actions and sizable interactions.  Erika tweeted.twitter1017

The next step easy after our awesome Monday. Design on paper, whiteboard, or wireframe tool the minimum shitty first draft of the UX.

And everything went super well. Here’s a picture of the finished wireframe.

Oh, sorry. Back to reality. What we understand and hypothesize is needed by our customers doesn’t just emerge fully formed. The truth is that it takes slow deliberate attempts.They build upon themselves. Those steps are your shitty first draft. They don’t have to be master strokes or killer UX/UI action. Your ideas, your creativity needs you to put them down on paper or sketch them out on napkins. To quote Anne Lamont  it is “Bird by bird. . .”

Forget the hollywood protagonist montage that packs all the small steps into action shots. There is no short cut. You have to take the slow path. That space is where your shitty first draft gives you enough insight and confidence to make a significant application to solve your customers need.


Paul Mosca founder of Protagonist Lab. MA Social Science, Essex University. Business ideation and execution consultant. Avid reader. Loves playing the drums. Information Technology is only as interesting as the people it serves.