Shipping Product

by Scott Austin June 18, 2013

Shipping Product

I haven't posted in while.

I've been quite heads down working with the team on shipping our product.  It's out the door today!  You can see it at  It's a closed access beta, and its pretty cool.

Our product is web based and allows homeowners to get inspired and educated on home projects and find the best home pros to do projects for their homes.  We have a vast database of home pros that you can search on.  You can see pro's profile information and their project history.  There's rich photos that you can browse, scrapbook and share.  Here's a few screenshots:

Here's a search results page showing recommended pros in your area for your project needs.

Here's a consumer's profile page where they can see their recommendations and scrapbooks.

Here's the home pro's profile page which includes profile, contact and project information.

Here's a photo carousel which is used for projects and scrapbooks.


What I want to talk about is what it takes to ship a significant (relatively Windows 8 developers) release.  In the past, I've written here about some of my best practices.  The ones that apply to this release are:

Here's how these applied during the past few months.

  • First, the management team got together and agreed on our goals for the release.  We had many different things we could do.  But we had to choose which were the most important for us.  So we started out by determining who was our audience for this release.  With that in mind, we created and stack ranked our goals.  The stack ranking was important for us when making decisions.  We had many inevitable moments where we had to make decisions or cut scope.  The two big experiences on our site are 'search' and 'browse.'  By having an already agreed upon stack rank of our goals, we could more easily make decisions and move forward.
  • Second, we got the whole team on board with the goals.  We explained the 'what' and 'why' behind the goals.  That way each team member was able to make decisions for themselves because that our goals and priorities gave them a decision-making framework.
  • Lastly, we executed.  Day in and day out, we made progress.  We kept our goals consistent throughout the past couple of months.  We made the decisions and the hard trade-offs as needed.  And we built, tested and optimized. Over and over again.  Because, without execution, great vision goes nowhere.

We've shipped and I'm very happy.  Tomorrow, I'll wake up early to start it all over again.  Because building a great business is a never-ending process.

Scott Austin
Scott Austin