Design by Dictatorship

Shamelessly stolen from Fred Brooks (The Mythical Man-Month, 16-1)
Shamelessly stolen from Fred Brooks (The Mythical Man-Month, 16-1)

What is the difference between the products in these two columns?

The products on the left have fanboys. People who love them. The products on the right have a larger user base, but no one really loves them.

The difference between the first group and the second group is that the left-column products were designed by dictatorship (in several instances, Steve Jobs’ brain). The right-column products were designed through a conventional process and everything was approved by consensus.

mac-iphone-ipad

When you design by consensus, you must cater to the lowest common denominator. The result is moderately satisfactory to most, but beloved by none.

When you want to build a product that is just tolerable to large numbers of people, use a design process. When you want to build a product that a small number will fall in love with, use a design dictator.

Great designs come from great designers, not from great design processes.

See Also:

Design of Design Fred Brooks

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