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  • Writer's pictureCraig Risi

The Power of Why


When designing and building software we can be very focused on the question ‘how’. As in ‘How are we going to build this?’, ‘How is the customer planning to use the software?’ and ‘How should our software look?’ or often the excellent, ‘How can we make it better?’. These are all fantastic questions, though what will turn your product from a good one to an excellent one is the focus on the question ‘why’. As in ‘Why do our customers need this feature?’, ‘Why are we building our product this way?’ or ‘Why do we want to follow this process?’.


The reason ‘why’ adds a different dimension to our development process is that it questions the very need for the fundamentals of what we are building and changes our focus from getting it designed and built, to ensuring it actually meets its needs in the first place and comprises the best way of doing it. It helps us to be critical of what we are doing and challenges our understanding of our real issues at hand, leading us to a better solution.

The best part about the question why is that it can literally be applied to everything we do.


Whether its designing the product or following a process, the question 'why' will help you to understand whether you truly need something or whether it can be done better in the first place. In fact, if you really want to unlock the power of ‘why’, you can even try it on yourself by asking 'Why do you do things a certain way?' You might not always know the answers, but being aware of that will at least help you find the solution.


It’s a subtle change in thinking, but one that is vital in making your products and indeed yourself better. So, the next time you do something, rather than just looking at how you’re going to get it done, ask yourself why you want to get it done or why you want to do it a certain way. 

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