You know... you try and embrace this lean stuff... you really do.

You get the team to buy in. You orient processes around it. You hold high the mantra of “SHIP!”

And you’re actually starting to make progress (and isn’t success really just progress at the end of the day?).

Then you discover the App Store. <insert echo chamber>

The best part of lean (for us) to date, has been that we control the decision to ship. If we want to move faster and get something out the door sooner, there is no one in our way but us. That’s powerful. It means that all the wrestling we do with whether or not a feature is ready, or a design is perfect, or a bug needs fixing – all of those decisions and internal debates are ultimately waged within our span of control.

Meet the app store. The little wrench in the way of your 100%, unadulterated commitment to “lean”.

At the app store – you wait. A couple weeks for a new app. A few days for an update. It doesn’t seem like much, but when you’re used to the luxury of not waiting, the pain of waiting gets enhanced. It screws with your head.

With your web app, you can reconcile the fact that it’s always in a state of version 0.9. Everything is beta, subject to change, until you have hand-over-fist traction (to paraphrase how Marc Andreesen once put it). On the app store, you know you can’t deploy a bug fix the moment it’s done – so you extend the QA process. You know that adding a feature takes a certain amount of time – so you start defining what version 1.0 needs to include. Bug fixes become your decimals (1.1, 1.2… 1.9) and major releases become your 2.0. This is foreign to you if you’ve been running lean thusfar.

While approval times have improved, this is less a rant and more a flag to say;

If you don’t make a conscious effort to hold onto what’s lean, your convictions may sway when faced with someone else’s requirements.

Ours did… until we called it out. Then we went back to shipping. On that note – please welcome the Rocketr iPhone app. Complete with a couple quirks, some missing features, but in our estimation – a slick note-taking interface that embodies the ‘minimum viable’ commitment we’ve made to Rocketr since day 1. Just expect plenty of updates… at this point, it’s the only way we know how to work.