Friday, June 18, 2010

Are things getting to complicated?

I heard an interesting tidbit of information this week. As software complexity increases, the amount of effort to add a feature rises exponentially. For example, if you were 40 story points, it might cost $10,000 (I am making all these number up) but to do 80 story points wouldn't be $20,000 but more like $40,000.

So when you combine this with the Standish study that said only 20% of the features on custom developed software are used always or often, you have a pretty good argument for simplification. Not only do all these extra features never get used, they cost a whole lot more to implement than the basic features that are needed.

So next time you're in front of the customer and they ask if you can do this or that, say yes, but it will cost them. Ask them what the real business value is. If they have a good answer, the feature probably makes sense. Otherwise, focus on the top 20% of the features they want (based on business value) and deliver that first before committing to any additional work.

1 comment:

Stan said...

I agree. Software we use today is way too overwhelmed with features we don't use. Surely it costs much to develop and unnecessary features also have bigger "cost of ownership" as they distract and handicap users in their work.