Over the course of my career, I’ve developed a short list of what produces great solid, useful products.
Relationships come first.
This is the most important ingredient in a successful project. Good ideas are always very fragile in the beginning so it’s important to have the collective team trust to invest in those ideas. Absent trust, teams will tend to fall back social anti-patterns that oversimplify debate and constrain the problem-solving process.
Homework (research) pays off.
While domain knowledge is always helpful, the key is to do enough research to be viewed as a real collaborator in solving the business problem.
Simplicity wins even when you might not want it to.
There are many occasions over the span of product development that the best solution is often just a small sentence and a button. It’s part of the maddening process of design, but it’s important to acknowledge these solutions as the right ones.