Sunday, March 09, 2008

Tips to Manage Feature Creep, Blithe or Fatigue

Avoiding feature creep ...

"How to restrain yourself in the candy store?

Hmmm, but maybe I also need this. And that. And that! It happens to all of us: you set out to buy a simple mp3 player, and you come home with something monstrous that has all the features you 'think you might need one day'. Guess what, the same thing happens to project managers in product development. You set out to make this product that fulfills an important, basic user need, and your team (and you) keep on adding new 'handy' stuff to the list. Feature creep. Or featuritis. Or Blithe. Ending up in feature fatigue on the consumer/user side.


Six Revisions has eight tips on managing feature creep. In software development, mind you, but I think that there's something to be learned from it for product developers.

Feature creep, also known as scope or requirement creep, refers to unforeseen requests for additions and changes that are outside the project scope. It typically happens due to inadequate requirements gathering, poor initial planning, and an unclear protocol for change implementation, among other things.

Doing one thing right

You could also chose to focus on the essentials. 37signals is a company that makes tightly-focused, very easy to use, powerful web-app-building software. And they were criticized for keeping it simple, according to this article in Wired.

But not everyone was convinced of Rails' revolutionary potential. Critics had been saying that Rails wasn't versatile enough.

There you go. You do one thing right, but you don't do all those other 207 things that you could do. I don't think they really mind the criticism at 37signals though, considering the 2 million account holders of Basecamp, their online collaboration software. Read the 37signals blog 'signals versus noise' by the way; very much worthwhile. The product-equivalent of the 'doing one thing right' strategy? Muji's wall-mounted cd-player by IDEO."    (Continued via the product usability weblog)    [Usability Resources]

Avoid Feature Creep - Usability, User Interface Design

Avoid Feature Creep


Blogger Scriptwriter said...

I do support the 37signals philosophy to some extend. How ever they get thousands of similar feature requests in their user-forum and this might be a sign that something needs to be added. I gave up on Basecamp. Bottom line. Now I'm using Wrike and its developers say that they build their roadmap based on user requests. This doesn't mean, that a crazy idea suggested by some guy will be immediately applied. It just means that they are listerning to their customers and keep them happy. That's the basic principle of success.

1:59 AM  

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