Shipping IS a Feature

This week, we rolled out a new service to our students: Wireless Printing.

On it’s face, this seems like something that should be trivially easy to support… until you realize, that there isn’t a unified way to support wireless printing across all the leading mobile platforms (iOS devices, Android devices, Mac and PC Laptops); rather, what exists is a litany of incompatible, vendor-specific solutions: AirPrint, CloudPrint, ePrint

It’s almost enough to make one throw up your hands, and simply walk away (which explains why the feature hasn’t been successfully tackled, until now, at our school).

Add to that, the charge of monitoring and managing user-specific print quotas?

Now we know why we can’t have the nice things.

Fortunately, I work with a great Technology Services team, who accepted – and met – my challenge to get Wireless Printing working for our students before Fall Break.

We settled upon two products, that were both able to support Wireless Printing across most – if not all – platforms, and give us user-specific security and quotas, to manage and monitor our printing: Presto, and PaperCut NG. Presto allows us to wirelessly print to our campus printers from iOS and Android devices, while Papercut provides integrated print management capabilities, as well as web printing for laptops.

Is it the perfect solution? Far from it.

But it is a perfectly good solution.

After our rollout, I was reminded of one of the guiding principles I have always followed, both as an entrepreneur and as a developer:

Shipping is a feature.

Another way to say that:

Don’t let the Perfect, become the enemy of the Good.

Or, the Good Enough.

Our team could have waited until we had crossed every single t, and dotted every possible i.

Instead, we shipped a working solution, that did 99% of everything we needed it to do.

Our students’ learning and living experiences are now better for it.

And at the end of the day, that is precisely why we’re here.





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