Attack of the Killer Feature Bloat


So have you ever used a an early adaptation of a product, V1 or V2, and absolutely LOVED it? A best thing since sliced bread, completely awesome, wonder how you lived without it product?

Then V3 comes out and all of a sudden there is all this extra… stuff. And the charm is suddenly gone. Now you’re digging through a layer of crazy to get to the underlying base features that you loved in the first place.

You stare at the screen thinking, “What happened here?” Then move on to a different, simpler product.

I’ll tell you exactly what happened. We like to call it feature bloat. It’s when a company starts out with a great simple concept with awesome UX, and moves into “design by committee” mode as the product expands.

They start tacking on all kinds of random features, and bells and whistles, until the original concept is barely recognizable.

Then users start to bail on the product, so the company panics and tosses on another layer of miscellaneous stuff no one wants.

Eventually the product and sometimes entire company, explode into oblivion and wind up in that great big startup grave yard in the sky.

Sounds… horrible, right? So how do you avoid the terrifying feature bloat implosion scenario?

All it takes is a qualified, experienced product manager who can see through the fluff, and who isn’t afraid to say, “No.”

We are fortunate enough to have absolutely phenomenal product managers on our staff, along with absolutely incredible senior management. They’re so in tune with the true needs of our users that we sometimes accuse them of being psychic.

So if your company is expanding out of startup mode, do yourself a favor and land a quality product manager ASAP!

One thought on “Attack of the Killer Feature Bloat

  1. Totally true!

    I like to compare it to the ‘difficult second album’ musicians face after having a success with their debut masterpiece.

    Great product development takes discipline and, as you pointed out, a great product manager. I’d also have to add a terrific UX advocate into the mix. Unfortunately a lot of start-ups I come across think it’s more important to get an extra sh*t hot developer in than a psychic who asks people to justify design decisions. A shame really because the world needs a lot more psychics – or should that be UX architects? ;0)

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