16 Signs You Need to Kill a Product

Just because it generates revenue, doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck

Not all, or even most, of these facts need to be true for there to be problems with a software product. But it might be happening right under your nose: here’s a few signs that something might be rotten in Denmark:

  1. The engineers supporting the product are showing signs of low self-esteem, poor health, unhappiness and/or above-average grumpiness
  2. Salespeople really don’t like to sell it (hate it, even), or have stopped trying to sell it
  3. The team is afraid to criticize the product because they think the CEO loves it (or as Ben Horowitz points out, a CEO’s ambivalence about a product can be just as bad)
  4. There is no synergy for the customer with any of your other software
  5. There’s a LOT of synergy with your other software products, but customers don’t care about the synergies (worse than no synergy)
  6. You haven’t shipped a new feature in the last three months
  7. A major bug in the product takes three months to fix
  8. A major bug in the product wasn’t noticed for three months (worse)
  9. You have a small number of big customers for the product, but not many new ones (see the next point)
  10. Your product’s new features are not driven by internal innovation, but by feature requests from a small number of big customers, thus making the product less and less generally useful
  11. Sales has stopped asking for new features for the product, and/or they’ve stopped trying to upgrade the priority levels of pipeline bugs/features
  12. The product has multiple versions and the biggest customers refuse to upgrade to the newest version
  13. It’s no longer a separate line item on the P&L, and/or it feels like Management avoids discussing it at board meetings
  14. It’s the type of product none of your normal competitors sell (why don’t they?)
  15. The biggest competitor for this product just went out of business
  16. The biggest competitor for this product just got acquired, and the acquirer shut the product down

Kill the product. Write off the revenue. Fire a few customers if you have to. Sleep better at night.

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