Control Feature Creep

Every new release of an application adds more features, but not always for the better. Get ten tips for getting feature frenzy under control. In writing an article about social network sites, I looked at over two dozen sites like MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Sermo, TravBuddy, MyCreativeCommunity. Wikipedia provides a list of many social networking sites.
I noticed most specialty social network sites do one thing well — they provided the appropriate features that fit their site’s purpose and target market. They didn’t try to capture the features everyone else has.
The following is a shorthand version of Frank Spiller’s excellent post:
1. Get task-focused.
2. Map business requirements to user tasks.
3. Talk about user tasks not features.
4. Design for probability not possibility.
5. Validate features with user tasks.
6. Map features to tasks.
7. Create a feature-task matrix.
8. Think scenarios first, use cases next.
9. Use tasks to test features, and features to test tasks.
10. Use diary studies to evaluate feature adoption over time.
Remember that users won’t necessary use every feature in an application. It costs to add a feature — so make sure it’s worth the cost.