It’s Never Really Done

Why you should ship your work sooner than you think.

“Done” is relative.

Is anything ever really done? Hard to say. Perhaps your latest project could be improved with a few more tweaks. But how much better? And at what cost?

No one knows this more than designers. When you’re not paying for canvas and paint, it’s easy for work to remain perpetually unfinished. It just needs a few final touches before it’s done.

But here’s the thing: It’s never really done.

What “done” really means is done for now. That this version is good enough.

And good enough is fine.

Your work is almost always done before you think it is. Don’t let the small stuff hold you up. Ship it, and come back to those finer details later.

Who knows — you might discover that those details didn’t matter all that much in the first place.

How to Ship

Over the past few weeks we’ve explored how Bubble Up — our handy snooze feature for HEY — went from a fat marker sketch to a working design inside Basecamp, and how our designer Michelle made it all happen without the crazy sprints that accompany most projects.

At this stage, the work on Bubble Up finally felt done (for now, at least). All that was left to do was ship.

Like most elements of a project, it’s easy to overcomplicate the launch plan. Timelines that track tasks minute-by-minute. To-do lists that could fill a book. When you’re excited to share your work with the world, it’s easy to get swept up in the minutiae.

But more often than not, simple is best.

To organize the launch of Bubble Up, Michelle posted a message inside the Basecamp project outlining all the various tasks and responsible parties. Each team member got tagged with their associated tasks, ensuring there was no confusion as to who would be doing what on launch day. After a few clarifying comments on the thread (including navigating around employees who would be out of office during launch), the entire launch plan was set.

The Bubble Up launch plan inside Basecamp.
The Bubble Up launch plan inside Basecamp.

With the plan now in place, it was time for Bubble Up to ship.

Post-Project Playbook

Shipping the work doesn’t automatically mark the end of a project. As we know, done is never really done.

A vital part of projects is understanding how real users are engaging with the work once you ship. To track this feedback (as well as any vital tweaks or bugs that are only made visible once it’s in the hands of real users), Michelle added one final message inside the Basecamp project — Top Requests & Lots of Love:

All the Bubble Up feedback in one place.
All the Bubble Up feedback in one place.

With all the early user feedback on Bubble Up compiled in one place, the team was able to track the impact of the feature, keep an eye out for potential bugs, and even get some ideas for future improvements and iterations.

Rave reviews rolling in the door and no major issues reported, the Bubble Up team could rest easy… the project was done.

Keep it Together. Put it in Basecamp.

We don’t just make Basecamp. We use it, too.

Bubble Up — like every other tool, feature, and product we build — went from concept to completion entirely inside Basecamp. Michelle (along with the rest of our Design Team) relies on Basecamp to organize, share, discuss, and manage every single element of every single project.

If your projects could benefit from a little extra organization, join the thousands of designers that already use Basecamp, and get started for free today (no credit card, no commitment):

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