Don’t Build What You Don’t Need: Impact on Feature Prioritization

by | Jul 31, 2021 | Resources

One of the biggest mistakes many entrepreneurs make is to try and build a replica of an already successful product.

On the surface, it seems logical. 

If a similar product is successful, why reinvent the wheel when you can simply create a replica?

In their minds, people think users would ‘expect’ these features because a similar product has them. Or they probably believe that if their product has all the features of the successful one, people will start using it.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

In fact, not only is this line of thought a bad starting point, but it can also be a recipe for disaster!

Then how do you decide which features to keep?

At Akrity, we stick by three core principles to ensure product quality:

  1. Don’t build what you don’t need
  2. Build what you need really well
  3. Build usage, not features

Our first principle answers that question.

You don’t build what you don’t NEED.

The core idea is that your product should first and foremost solve a major pain point for people. 

The main focus is on solving that burning problem your user has, something that is preventing users from doing something they really care about–something they are unable to do TODAY.

unrecognizable girl twisting combination puzzle at home

Solving just that problem well is good enough for your product to start getting usage.

Your product may not be aesthetically pleasing, your product may not be extremely user friendly, it may be really sparse — but all that is fine, as long it solves a burning problem well. 

Let’s go back a few decades–back when calls and SMSs cost us a lot of money. If you wanted to text a friend abroad, the prices were exorbitant.

Enter Whatsapp. They came in and solved that specific problem (IT professionals in the US could now talk to their parents for hours now!).

a mobile phone application on screen display

Did Whatsapp offer end-to-end encryption? No. 

Were people even worried about it? No.

Could you send voice notes or files back then? No. 

Did people still use it? Absolutely!

What did Whatsapp focus on? Only building the features the app would need. 

They ‘did not build what they didn’t need’. 

They focussed on the basics and added other features much, much later.

The simple one-line concept of ‘Don’t build what you don’t need’ guides your feature prioritization. It helps you save time, costs, resources, and unnecessary bloating. 

And it increases the chances of your product being successful. 

As they say, sometimes less is more.

Abhishek Bagalkot

Abhishek Bagalkot

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