X Driven Development

Matt Mayfield
Published in
2 min readOct 18, 2018


Engineers love to use terms like “Feature Driven Development” vs “Date Driven Development” to indicate the priority when scope exceeds deadlines. An engineering manager in a former company once told a customer:

“Cost, quality, deadlines,… You can say they are all important, but what you are really telling me is ‘please choose for me’.”

To aid in understanding engineers, here are a few terms:

  • Feature Driven Development: Complete the specified features even if the date must slip. Product stability (eg. testing, error handling and quality) as well as “feature completeness” may or may not be sacrificed as well.
  • Cost Driven Development: This is a budget-driven development. When the money runs out, there must be a useful product. It might not have all the features completed to the desired levels, but it should not have half finished features that would represent effort but nothing usable...
  • Date Driven Development: The product must be ready for a key event/show or other marketing timing. It might be missing some “nice to have features” and might be a bit weak in the testing, but the release date is non-negotiable.

While these are the most common, at DLabs we have a few others which are not common in the industry:

  • Funding Driven Development: Investment tranches may be based on some specific business progress which directly translates to feature priorities. It often feels a bit like Cost Driven Development with Date Driven Development. What do the founding (and their advisors) believe needs to be in place in order to raise the next round with a reasonable valuation? When we know this, the engineering teams start prioritizing with you.
  • Analytics Driven Development: Digital online products can reveal huge insight once basic user critical mass and functionality are in place. Focusing on fixing and/or testing improvement hypothesis is often an excellent way to prioritize development and stretch development dollars farther and faster. We can not only work in this mode, but we can also even help set up the analytics strategy that will reveal these insights.

Enjoyed reading the article? Hit that clap button 👏 and help others find it.

Have any question, you are building your own product (or/and company) or just want to connect? Drop me an email on matt.mayfield@dlabs.si I’ll be happy to help.