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What Is Feature Creep and How Can You Avoid It?

Adding new features feels like a great way to improve your product, but this philosophy can backfire when those features grow unwieldy.

What Is Feature Creep and How Can You Avoid It?

It might seem like a good idea to add more features to improve your product, but this approach to creation can do quite the opposite. By definition, feature creep refers to an excessive feature contribution that makes a product difficult to use. In this article, we will cover feature creep in-depth so that you know how to avoid it. 

Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Feature Creep?

Also known as scope creep, feature creep refers to the process of adding excessive features to a product that detrimentally make too difficult or complicated for general use. Any product that has a subset of additional features added to it will see an uptick in complexity. As a result, this can severely deplete the usability of a product.

Feature creep is also a significant problem when it comes to project management. It’s relatively easy to miss deadlines and exceed a budget when your team or stakeholders don’t recognize the impact of the schedule and resource changes. 

This can keep going on and on as long as someone requests more and more features/changes to be made for a product with no parameters.

Shoving unnecessary features into your product risks turning the entire product into something that performs numerous actions at a mediocre level rather than performing several at exceptional levels.

People can get over a reliable product but missing a feature, but they can never get over a poorly thought out product with buggy features. Focus on the quality, not the quantity. 

As you grow, you can add more features, but don’t add them all at once. When determining which features should be said “yes” to, and which should be added later, it’s important that you involve everybody in the creation of your product to understand the consequences and importance of each feature.

Other Terms Referring to Feature Creep

While scope creep and feature creep are the most commonly used terms, you may see others such as:

  1. Feature bloat
  2. Featurism
  3. Featuritis
  4. Project creep
  5. Project scope creep
  6. Concept creep

Why Is Scope Creep Bad?

As mentioned earlier, scope creep can make any project overly complex. It also leads to the following issues.

Money + Issues

With each feature added, you can expect an equal uptick in bugs, contributing to higher resource utilization. Not just the front-end time that it takes to develop, but also the lifelong support and promotion of the feature.
Every change that you make requires iterating, testing, and building. And subsequently, supporting, launching, and promoting. All of those resources increase overall costs, and expenses are often much higher than expected.

Feature Overexertion

Have you ever heard of having too much of the right thing? Well, feature overexertion is a real thing. It occurs when there is an overabundance of features for your clients.
An excessive amount of features might encourage initial purchasing, but it will undoubtedly depreciate satisfaction and deplete repurchasing.

User Unfriendly

Feature-heavy products often come with terrible user experiences, alongside complex user interfaces. Thus, they are undoubtedly unfriendly.
Customers don’t want tons of features; they want the features that they need, and they want them to work correctly.

How to Avoid Feature Creep Altogether?

Finally, let’s cover how you can avoid feature creep altogether. Or at least attempt to reduce its impact upon your product. Here’s what you can do.

Focus On the Problem Your Product Solves

It’s important always to go back to the original purpose and vision of the product. This will ensure that everyone is guided in developing the product towards the success of its intention. It’s the goal that you were striving for and should continue to strive for.
It’s all about achieving a balance between functionality and features while maintaining the initial product vision.

problem-solving

Focus On the Priorities

This is quite similar to the approach above but from a broader perspective. It can help if you created an all-encompassing product goal and keep it at the forefront of everything.
Make sure that the features you want to implement support this goal.

Listen to Feedback

It’s important to find out why customers are making the requests they are making. Go deep and determine the underlying issues. Sometimes the demand for features is, in fact, a problem with usability.
It’s critical that you can distinguish between the wants and needs of a customer. Focus on their needs first, then their desires.

Examine the Impact

New features are tempting especially if the expected impact could increase revenue. But be wary. The resulting revenue should not be a determining factor or at least not the sole reason for feature implementation.
Some features might increase revenue for a short while but move you further from the vision and not serve long-term goals.

Feature Scope

When reviewing feature requests, be honest about the scope; that can help  you can avoid future mistakes. Learn how to say “no” and determine when to say “yes”.

Develop Worthy Features

Now that you know what feature creep is, and how to avoid it, you are well on your way to developing a product that truly stands out for its balance and usability. 

If you’re interested in developing worthy features, get in touch with us, to discuss the needs of your next project.

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