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jeric_synergy
11-05-2014, 10:55 AM
Chapter 24: Avoiding Features


Product design is a never ending race. To avoid being overtaken by competitors, you need to keep running and running --- or, in our case, designing and designing. But this race has no clear finish line; your produced is never really "done." At most, it simply becomes a bit less unfinished with each new release. This is the best we can hope for.

Like a species of shark the needs to keep moving in order to supply its gills with oxygenated water, if your product remains stagnant for too long, it dies. This is a problem, because it means you must constantly add new things. As a result, most products are forever acquiring new features, without much thought going into it.

As you add new features, your product can quickly grow from its original state -- an elegant solution to a well-defined problem-- into a byzantine mess of unrelated functions. It may be that, on the whole, the product solves a number of problems, but chances are that it solves most of them poorly. The fact that a product could (in theory) solve many problems is meaningless if its users have trouble figuring out how to find the features that solve their particular problem.

Although the users with existing knowledge of your product may be able to keep up with all of the features, you are essentially closing the door for new users who do not have the benefit of starting out with a simple product and learning how to use all of the additional features as they appear.

What's worse, your existing users, who grow alongside your product, will turn into advanced users, which means they will continue to push you to add more advanced features. If you do this, your customer base will skew even more toward advanced users. It's a vicious cycle.



Sound familiar?

GREAT book. Recommended for all designers, and dev managers, especially the chapter on DOCUMENTATION.

jwiede
11-05-2014, 12:25 PM
GREAT book.

Agreed.

Now if there were only signs that anyone in relevant LW3DG management recognized and was attempting to resolve the problem. Once it reaches the described level (as LW has), it requires concerted effort across the engineering org to bring it back under control / specification. Addressing it isn't something engineers acting individually can do much to ameliorate.

bazsa73
11-05-2014, 12:46 PM
Yes, complete rewrite is needed in case of LW. Even the stupid ones know that but economical reasoning has always overrid the logical ones especially in this debil
consumer age.

cagey5
11-05-2014, 03:20 PM
If those typos are from the book, methinks they need to practise their own professionalism first.

jeric_synergy
11-05-2014, 09:13 PM
If those typos are from the book, methinks they need to practise their own professionalism first.
The typos are all mine. :P

Hmmm, spellcheck didn't find anything, I'm going to assume it's grammar.

jeric_synergy
11-05-2014, 09:17 PM
Agreed.

Now if there were only signs that anyone in relevant LW3DG management recognized and was attempting to resolve the problem. Once it reaches the described level (as LW has), it requires concerted effort across the engineering org to bring it back under control / specification. Addressing it isn't something engineers acting individually can do much to ameliorate.
There's an interesting chapter on REMOVING features. That's got to be a tough sell to management.

cagey5
11-06-2014, 01:29 PM
Spell checks are rubbish at picking up typos that form other words. Just for clarity..

.. But this race has no clear finish line; your produced is never really "done."..

produced should be product

Like a species of shark the needs to keep moving

the should be that

jeric_synergy
11-06-2014, 09:32 PM
Yeah, that was me.

That's just a big fat red herring: the book is something every LW dev and LW management should be memorizing.