Has You Client Got a Bad Case Of Featuritis?

Digital Natives
Feb 24, 2016 · 4 min read

The what, why and how of beating feature creep

In the development world we call this phenomenon ‘feature creep’. It’s a sneaky little creature which tempts even the most experienced clients and team members. The problem is, by this point in the process, the well-known (and rather useful) phrase of brainstorms has all but vanished and you’re simply left with “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we added (insert feature or capability here).”

But what is feature creep?

source: http://zanesafrit.typepad.com

Feature creep (aka scope creep, requirements creep or my personal favourite, ‘featuritis’) happens when a new function is requested AND either nothing is removed to make way for it, or the client drops a considerably smaller feature than the one they have just introduced.

And what is feature creep not?

  • Define the undefined. In agile project management we must first and foremost have a high-level understanding of what the project is about, defining the exact functions step-by-step as we progress throughout the project.

Why is it happening?

Source: http://thelogbox.com/blog-feature_creep/

Why do we think more feature will help?

Users will need it

Competitors have it

It can be optional

How can you handle it?

But if you want to keep this creep in control you basically have 3 options:

  • Say yes
  • Say no
  • Compromise

Say yes

Never allow a feature creep without a thorough evaluation with your team. Although you can say yes, if it doesn’t require more resource than a couple of hours, like a small change in design or smaller modifications in the code without changing the business logic.

Say no

You have to say no when the feature is just unrealistically big and there is no way to squeeze it into the itinerary without risking the delivery. These are two very clear situations when saying no is the better choice but there are more sneaky ones, which you have to look out for.

Make an agreement

Of course each project manager has their own methods, so take a look at some other ways to avoid feature creep.

In the agile manifesto, one of the twelve principles is: “simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential” — always think of this before you want to add more features to your product.

All in all, there is no ultimate practice for handling feature creep but it’s always beneficial to think it through thoroughly before implementing a new feature and it’s always worth testing whether the problem you have been asked to solve really exists and whether the new feature really holds the solution.

So did you have any experience with feature creep so far? If so, share your insights and learning in the comments below.

Digital Natives

Ideation. Validation. Execution.

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Digital Natives

Ideation. Validation. Execution.