Many people have heard me say this ad nauseam but it’s probably one of the most important rules you can consider when developing something.

Fast and Cheap = McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Carl’s/Hardees.

Fast and Good = Your deluxe fast-casual burger bar. TAG in Denver or Nick’s in Portland; M.L. Rose in Nashville or Blockhouse in Greenville, S.C.

Cheap and Good = Freddy’s, Five Guys, Smashburger. Burgerville? Maybe.

Your project, hamburger or otherwise, will fall in one of these categories. It will be sustained by the fee you charge (if any) and the budget you provide. The budget is time and money. To the greatest degree possible, don’t decide on fees, budget, or anything else until you know the category of your aspirations.

Far too often, we decide what we are by the resources we think we can spare (or extract) instead of the type of burger we want to make.

It’s a stretched metaphor but you get the idea. Reverse it. Decide the category first (they’re all perfectly viable) and fix the resources to it.

Photo from Flickr photostream from cea+