Define the Mission, then the Vehicle

Start with the mission, not with the vehicle.

Pat Duggins’ book Final Countdown, which documents NASA’s move to shutdown the Space Shuttle Program repeats an important aviation and aerospace maxim:

The mission should define the vehicle, not the vehicle define the mission.

Apollo’s mission was to put a man on the moon, hence the Saturn and LEM.  The Wright’s wanted to be the first to fly, and to have a machine which they could use to become better pilots – hence the Wright Flyer.

“It’s a technology in search of a market,” is one of the worst back-handed compliments a start up business can receive.  One of the great lessons promoted the the Lean Startup movement is getting out and understanding what the customer needs.

The mission of a new product is to get adoption, get revenue and then to grow.  If we start with that mission, then it helps us understand what the vehicle needs to look like.  Start with the mission, not with the vehicle.

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One Response to Define the Mission, then the Vehicle

  1. Pingback: USA Soccer and Brazil FIFA 2014: Not Just Happy to Be There | Fred Lybrand

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