Kent Beck adds, “I view pretty much everything I do in Explore/Expand/Extract terms today.”
For over forty years, Kent has been working as a programmer, developing Extreme Programming, providing coaching and guidance to engineers at Facebook, and being one of the founding signatories of the Agile Manifesto. His dedication to the field has been remarkable and he continues to be an example of excellence in software development.
Despite facing a steep learning curve at the beginning of this year, as Works determined to explore a new way of creating computer programmes. He soon developed the Product Development Triathlon (3X), an approach inspired by the three legs of a triathlon: explore, expand and extract. With this process, [Name] hopes to achieve greater efficiency and productivity in the development of computer products.
Kent recently shared his thoughts on the Triathlon approach to software development. After having adopted this mindset for the past few months, his outlook on software development, product development, his life and even blogging has been profoundly impacted. This raises the question of how exactly this 3X approach functions in practice.
Kent emphasises the importance of trial and error in the initial stage of product development, which is known as the Explore stage. He explains that when searching for a product-market match, the behaviour should be tailored to obtain a positive feedback loop. Due to the uncertainty of achieving desired results, it is advisable to try a variety of approaches until a successful outcome is achieved. Since the programme will only be utilised for a short period of time, the quality of the product does not need to be a priority.
At this juncture, rapid expansion should be the primary focus. It is inevitable that some consumers will be lost in the process of prioritising growth, but it is far more damaging to the success of the endeavour to reduce the speed of progress. Kent believes that the expansion phase of the cycle is the most essential, and therefore this is not the opportune moment to roll out features that could potentially impede the rate of growth. Resources should be allocated to resolving the most pressing matters at hand, and the introduction of new features should be delayed until the subsequent stage, Extract.
Once you have achieved success with your product and have entered the Extract phase, the way in which you approach this phase is considerably different from the Explore phase. During this phase, the focus should be on optimising the programme you have built and achieving scale efficiencies, as you will be relying on it for the foreseeable future. As a result, the quality of the programme is of even greater importance. Additionally, at this point you should have a solid understanding of your projected income, expenses, and turnaround times.
The Importance of Multiplying by Three
Companies invest heavily in the development of every new product, treating the process with the same level of caution as if they were mining resources, in an attempt to ensure that the returns from the launch are maximised. Unfortunately, there has not been an equivalent increase in successful launches, despite the increased funding for the exploratory process. As a result, it is difficult to predict which products will be successful and which will not.
If you are looking to make a blog successful, it is important to remember that the same concept applies to many different fields, including software engineering. Rather than spending time perfecting each post, it is recommended to focus on creating multiple entries with a range of topics. Once a few versions are released, take note of the feedback provided to identify which posts were most positively received.
As the name implies, 3X thinking emphasises the importance of understanding when it is beneficial to try new things, prioritise expansion, or take things slowly and put resources towards improving existing offerings. This requires an appreciation of the commonalities between the questions of “What are the rules of chess, checkers, and Go?” and “What are the basic principles of software development?” To quote Kent, “the rules for how you grow at maximum speed are substantially different from the rules for exploration or the rules for extraction.” Therefore, it is essential to be able to distinguish between when to focus on expansion, exploration or extraction in order to optimise growth.
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