Product Managers beware! Keeping tech product simple is crucial to product success.
It’s really easy to think that you’re being really clever by jamming your product full of tasty features and functionality that your users will love. But is more really more? Is bigger really better? That’s not what the evidence shows.
Some schools of thought suggest that up to two thirds of software product features are rarely or never used. That’s crazy considering all those extra unnecessary features still needed to be developed, tested and maintained. There will have been meetings about them, opinions shared, slide decks created, the whole shebang. All of it waste – and directly traceable back to you the Product Manager, the guardian of value. How ironic.
All of that wasted effort makes things harder for your users too. They now have more to navigate, slower, heavier, lumbering product experiences. Soon they will ask, why am I using this product instead of that other nice, clean, simple one.
“I love it! It’s so complicated and slow”, said no-one, ever. Probably.
Remember, sometimes, the best thing we can do is actually remove features or improve the ones we have, in fact some of the best product managers in the industry look to do this first before testing new ideas. Even then experimenting hard when adding new ones and improving existing ones is crucial.
There’s even a fantastic German word, with no direct English translation which highlights this. Verschlimmbesserung (versh–limm–BESS–air–ung) describes the action of making something worse by trying to improve it. Whilst this is a light-hearted notion, there is very serious truth to it. Expending energy making something worse is bad for users, demoralising for your team and not great for your reputation either.
The age old adage remains true and we’d all benefit from reminding ourselves of it form time to time. Keep It Simple Stupid! (KISS)