Even the best products including your favorite product (can) suffer form feature bloat. In my last article Measuring Feature Adoption – I talked about measuring feature adoption. Tracking feature adoptions will help you avoid feature bloat.
A product filled with non-performing features causes
1. accumulation of technical debt,
2. increased maintenance costs,
leading to a lower customer satisfaction (NPS score) and a lack of market differentiation.
Features too have an iceberg problem. They may seem to be small features but turn out to have huge costs. This can happen when you decide to ship a feature for a specific customer or a use case instead of shipping new products.
Avoiding feature bloat
One way to avoid feature bloat is to have a strategic approach on the bigger picture. Focus on outcomes instead of output.
Avoid focusing on shipping features. Product teams should focus on the number of problems solved and the positive impact on their customers – this directly results in a better NPS score.
When you focus on the outcomes, it allows you to gather feedback from customers, talk to them more often to test your hypothesis for a new feature. Tracking your feature allows you to decide if you should either iterate or pull out this feature.
Finally, doing a feature audit will also help understand how features are being used. Looking at your feature adoption and usage metrics will allow you to decide to to kill an underperforming feature or work on increasing adoption.
Delivering a Product Strategy
As your product evolves and becomes mature, typically in the growth phase – you attempt to serve everyone. In this phase, products can be disrupted by the one big customer’s specific needs or by smaller niche markets.
Segmenting your product based on customer needs, jobs and personas will allow you to bundle your product to different tiers at different pricing options and avoid feature bloat.