Building software without a set of guiding principles is risky business. Product design is all about tradeoffs, so it’s critical to have underlying principles that help you make tough decisions.
Should we prioritize simplicity or depth of understanding? What behaviors do we want to amplify? Which should we discourage?
Having an opinion on the state of the problem you’re solving can be the difference between building a tool that’s critical to how someone runs their business or something that’s just “nice-to-have”.
Our company Tettra just had its first birthday, so we’ve been spending some time reflecting on the core principles that motivate everything we do. We started with why we started Tettra, and decided to publish these principles to help us stay accountable to ourselves and our customers.
We’ve spent the past year observing how software is changing and talking one-on-one with hundreds of customers and prospects to come up with this set of core principles. These principles guide how we build our product at Tettra every day.
Open by default
Information shared inside a company should be open by default. Too many tools are private by default, which promotes secrecy and “need-to-know” communication.
Trust your teammates
Teams often have asymmetry of information. This means that most of the knowledge is held in just a few people’s heads. We think teams should operate with information symmetry and trust teammates with information.
Give everyone a voice
Instead of information always flowing top down from management, we believe that ideas, knowledge, and strategy should flow in both directions, from the CEO to the newest intern.
Work happens in context
When someone has to a job to do, they shouldn’t have to log into four different systems to do it. We believe tools are most useful when they can be accessed when and where you need it.
“Business software” is still software
Building software for businesses doesn’t give you a pass on making things clunky, ugly, and painful to use. The software you use at work should be as excellent as what you use at home.
This list will most likely evolve over time, but this is how we see the world at the moment. If you have feedback or comments, I’d love to hear them!