Sequencing strategies

This post is part of a series on product design patterns.

Ideas are worthless, execution is all that matters. – like, everybody

What most people mean by this is that vision is often overrated: it is not that hard to visualize something big, it is most commonly harder to figure out how to sequence it.

Sequencing strategies are needed whenever you are dealing with a problem that isn’t directly or trivially addressed in a single shot. The challenge is breaking things down into multiple parts - often dependent on each other - and execute them in a specific order. Sometimes, it requires you to go on a tangent that will enable / unblock a step in the future.

A key property of a good sequencing strategy is that there is a plausible plan to get to where you want to be: each step that you take is planned and part of a bigger narrative. For example, a good sequencing strategy never corners yourself in exchange to a short term advantage: it never places a stepping stone that would lead to limiting the set of decisions that you can make in the future (e.g. lower your bar on privacy/security/trust/etc).

Often, you can articulate a product feature based on a sequencing strategy: a step (typically small) that you can take that is guaranteed not to corner you (e.g. a feature that is clearly a positive delta, a feature that carries its own weight). Even if that step isn’t complete (i.e. it won’t take you directly to where you want to get), it is often useful to ship things in an incremental fashion than not.

One of the earliest step that one takes in a sequencing strategy is defining a minimum viable product.