Expose the price of new features
Even if a feature makes it past the "no" stage, you still need to expose its hidden costs.
For example, be on the lookout for feature loops (i.e. features that lead to more features). We've had requests to add a meetings tab to Basecamp. Seems simple enough until you examine it closely. Think of all the different items a meetings tab might require: location, time, room, people, email invites, calendar integration, support documentation, etc. That's not to mention that we'd have to change promotional screenshots, tour pages, faq/help pages, the terms of service, and more. Before you know it, a simple idea can snowball into a major headache.
For every new feature you need to...
- 1. Say no.
- 2. Force the feature to prove its value.
- 3. If "no" again, end here. If "yes," continue...
- 4. Sketch the screen(s)/ui.
- 5. Design the screen(s)/ui.
- 6. Code it.
- 7-15. Test, tweak, test, tweak, test, tweak, test, tweak...
- 16. Check to see if help text needs to be modified.
- 17. Update the product tour (if necessary).
- 18. Update the marketing copy (if necessary).
- 19. Update the terms of service (if necessary).
- 20. Check to see if any promises were broken.
- 21. Check to see if pricing structure is affected.
- 22. Launch.
- 23. Hold breath.