Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Sucks Less" Features

We all have them. Those things that need to be done to improve the product but they just aren't exactly exciting to the customer.
  • They might make a huge difference in the performance or quality of the product. 
  • They might resolve that thing that customers have been annoyed about for ages. 
  • They might even be really cool from a technical perspective
However, they are not something that you can promote to your customers as a great new thing. They are "sucks less" features. As in, this thing now "sucks less" than it did before.

Sure, the term reflects a cynical attitude. But, it also gets people's attention, particularly in-house (the only place the term should be used, frankly). I like to use it because it helps people realize that although this feature may be helpful or even important under the hood, at the end of the day, what the customer sees is that the product is only mildly improved. It sucks less. You better have something else in the release to really get people's attention.

2 comments:

  1. Often these "Suck Less" features are important for the long-term health of the product. They often improve scalability, performance, efficiecy, reliability, reduce product maintenance, reduces support incidents, enable future new features, etc. "Suck Less" features are often requested by product management, engineering, professional services, business partners and even customers!

    However, it seems nowdays that if every new release doesn't add pretty graphics (analytics) or social media features, the marketing communications, PR and sales people go insane.

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  2. 'Tis true Tim. Can't really market those "sucks less" features, now can you?

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