Products need focus. Good products solve problems and makes our lives better. Great products, truly meaningful ones, deliver tightly focused experiential solutions. Everything about them is carefully tailored; how it looks, how it works, how it makes us feel. All part of its user experience, consistently living up to your promise, your brand. (#moleskine, #patagonia, #johndeere)
Like many of our projects at Retronymity, you product is pretty awesome. It’s is going to help improve the way people live, work and play. But, please realize that unless your product gets to the user, it remains just another grand idea, no matter how many millions you’ve raised and burnt. You and your team have to focus on what’s important; delivering meaningful products. Feature creep is killing your product.
There are a handful of features your product absolutely needs. Everything else is feature creep. Which is full of good intentions, is frivolous and wasteful.
Every feature beyond this handful will cost time, money, clarity and focus. Time and money are objective resources that should be managed reasonably well. Clarity and focus however are much less understood but terribly precious. Without which, development will stagnate and we’re left with endless weekly reports of marginal and ineffectual progress. Those of you who have launched a product or two know what this feels like, the gut-wrenching anxiousness as you watch the calendar weeks roll by until inevitably, launch dates are missed.
That’s not the worst of it. Bloated products never perform well in sales. Sure, you’ll see a slick marketing team punch above their weight class and drive a huge spike in initial demand. You know, early adopters and innovators. The 10-16% that simply get it. But you’re not going to cross the chasm, to reach mass market adoption (Your plan does include mass market doesn’t it?!). When you lose focus, you also lose why your product is important. Now somehow, all those well-reasoned features have transformed into a bloated, soporific package. Not to mention supported by a weak cost base. Too many features.
Juicers don’t need to be connected to deliver great cold-pressed awesomeness. Cameras don’t need to fly to help tell cool stories. Game consoles don’t need natural language processing to help developers make great games. Cars don’t need more horsepower, they need better driving experiences. Refrigerators need better organization and usable temperature control, not screens. You get the idea.
Every good product you make, contributes to your Brand equity. Each time, a customer feels good because your product delivered a great experience; the same equity grows. You have a choice of what kind of company you run.
But our clients at Retronymity tend to be of the Evergreen variety. They believe that to make a real change in peoples lives, products have to be meaningful and strong organizations will deliver value year after year. That’s where we come in. Our simple but rigorous method, demands meaning from each and every feature. If it doesn’t help deliver a core experience, it’s gone!
We particularly love design thinking and how it helps us frame, and solve problems in a very human way. Our solutions start with core experiences, an expression of the future, absent problem. This is our why. By our reckoning, this is the single most important step in product development. The mission statement that every product deserves, focuses entire teams and reminds them of what we’re all here to do.
In a small, passionate groups, carefully weave Tech, Business and Design together into as part of your design strategy efforts. When done thoughtfully, you will understand the interrelationship between technology, attributes, features and the role they play in bringing your core experience alive!
It is from this very rich tapestry, this design space; that we derive our conceptual solutions, our what. Each concept is rigorously challenged to ensure it delivers the core experience, exceptionally well. And thus, we stay lean, stay focused and always human-centered. Like death and taxes, something will pop up, just make sure to bounce if off your design space to see if it works.
So we urge you. Lose the feature creep. Exercise discipline and be rigorous in your demand for meaning from every feature. People will thank you for it, when they keep coming back for more. Want to learn more? We’d be delighted to speak to you about this, no charge!
retronymity - San Jose, California