There are awesome ideas and then there are executable projects. It’s not often that both occur at the same time.

Sometimes it’s better to start small than set out to build the Taj Mahal. We often forget that Facebook didn’t start out as a worldwide social network that everyone and their grandma could belong to and Craigslist didn’t boast millions of listings at first. Instead small ideas took root and development began on a small-scale that allowed bugs to be worked out and adjustments made.

There is a reason businesses hold soft openings and interfaces undergo beta testing. By allowing failure and improvements to occur before the masses can use, abuse and even refuse products, those offerings have a chance to flourish once they are fully released.

Last week, as I sat in the lab, all around me people were looking to achieve far more than was possible. In the last hours before our assignment was due, fellow classmates listed the advanced functionality they planned to complete.

As I listened to the lofty intentions being detailed, I couldn’t help but giggle that at this point in the evening, expectations needed to be scaled back. Impressive goals are fine initially, but it’s important to consider what is possible in the allotted time and what must be saved and added later.

In fact, by starting small and testing your functionality, mistakes and time-costing adjustments can be limited. More and more I’m finding it’s better to get my project working first and worry about aesthetics later, because as much as the designer in me hates to admit it, who cares if it looks pretty but doesn’t work?