I recently read an article that said teams should ask “why now” instead of “why” when making large product and engineering decisions. It struck a chord.
There is a cost associated with all things software engineering, in house engineering is not an infinite resource.
When the question of why we need a “feature” is asked I have found it is usually backed by two types of reasoning;
- Feature parity to competitor
- Belief customers need said feature
Engineering teams are busier than ever, corporate want to manage costs and see gains more than ever and this gives us a problem; we cannot build everything now.
There is fierce competition when it comes to a business that has a core function based on building software. Startups and small companies can sweep in quickly and rapidly which will have a costly consequence. Some thought provokers that you can dig into when deciding what to build now and prioritise
- What other work would be impacted if we built now
- Is there a simpler solution that will serve the core purpose of the feature
- Are we solving a problem that does not yet exist
- Return on investment if done now vs 6 months out
- Can we A/B test a “non working” example to gather predicted usage