I mentioned in my previous post, “The Real World”:

I prefer a short development life-cycle, keeping the requirements for each cycle short and to the point. The smaller the feature set, the shorter every sub-cycle is (design, testing, etc).

37signals recently discussed a great example of this concept with their “Public Contact Cards”. They saw a need, and delivered a solution to it within 48 hours. In order to do it, they kept a very tight focus on the goal of that feature. They solved the problem in the simplest and most direct way possible. They mention several features they could have added and didn’t. Some of them certainly sound like great additions as well, and you may one day see them. But, by keeping the focus on the problem at hand, they can act much quicker to market and consumer needs, keeping their customer base happy, and reducing the risk of implementing new enhancements. They also get a chance to see how their consumers react to the direction of the solution before they have gone to far down the road.

Read more about the Public Contact Cards they added to their new Highrise application.