At my startup we over-document so that we can easily onboard new folks as well as stress-test ideas for the future. One of the things we religiously do in our product team is try and codify our viewpoint on design, engineering, etc. in the form of Principles. These aren't hard and fast rules so much as guideposts which inform decision making. The first step to living a principled life and building quality mission-driven products is, in my opinion, defining what your guideposts are (and sharing them) so that there is never any question what drives your choices.
- Make it Simple. Or at least as simple as possible but no simpler. Also, steal from Einstein whenever you can.
- Make it Understated. There's almost never a need to yell.The loudest people usually have the least interesting things to say.
- Make it Beautiful. If it's not beautiful, why the fuck are you making it?
- Make it Useful. Don't get in the way of the core use of our product. Too much design is bad design.
- Make it Playful. Life's too short to take yourself so damn seriously.
- Make it Work. May this above all else be true.
Inspired by Mailchimp, Uber, Airbnb and other incredible companies that have shared their principles and ideas (some in a gorgeous book form even). I wish more did - after all, other than learning from each other and our successes and failures, how else do we grow?