When a Feature Is Not a Feature

You like to build. Of all the things you like doing, that’s your preference. We’ll need to re-frame that preference.

When we looked at the Forces of Progress, we saw that buyers experience attractions and anxieties when considering your product.

We also saw that a high price is an anxiety, a low price is also an anxiety.

Features? You might think they just make your product more attractive. But they can definitely be a source of anxiety, pushing back the buyer toward non-consumption, toward saying “not this, not now”.

Consider this example:

Let’s say you’re building an online project organization app that gets hired to present a unified, authentic view of the project to the client. You know the app gets hired after trying a project manager to unify communication, only to find that project managers filter too many details out, and gives off a sense of making the client feel less involved, making the client feel managed, pushing them away. After losing two clients because of this, the app has been hired.

As you get customers for your app, you’ll get feedback.
As you receive that feedback, you’ll get feature ideas.
As you get feature ideas, you’ll need to make product decisions.

Should I Build This New Feature Idea? Yes or No?

By building more features, you think you’re adding appeal to the app. But at some point, the extra features might make people pause and say, “ugh, that’s doing too much for me, I just want to do this thing here”.

“This app seems to solve my problem, but I’ll have to learn all these other things about it I won’t use”.

“Ah this feature could be neat, but I don’t want my clients to see this or think they have to deal with this part of the app.”

Make The Feature Work To Exist

As the person deciding what goes into the product, it’s worth asking yourself: will this new feature help the main job the product was hired to do? If not the main job, what sub-job does this feature help solve? Is there a way to cut that feature by half – or even cut it by ten – so that we find the smallest possible design which will serve the core of the job?

Armed with these questions, you’ll be able to know how to discern which features to invest in, which features to discard, which features for which to say “not yet”.

Instead of building more product with more features, you’ll still be building. You’re just going to be building something different: a delighted, well-served customer base, happy to pass the word on your product.

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