When building software, it is very easy to get lost in things that don’t matter. I spend a lot of time working with clients on projects of all sizes, and I’ve picked up some things that I think could be helpful to consider when prioritizing features.

I look at two ratings overall:

  • How many users does this effect?
  • What impact will this have on those users?

Very simple right! It could be but lets use a very simple problem, someone has forgot their password on your website, and they need a way to recover it.

The number of users this effects is small, most likely a small percentage a small percent of the time. The impact of making this feature super polished is very minor, a person may enjoy the nice flow for having a password reset, but it really doesn’t matter beyond the few seconds of interacting with it.

I am always sad when building a very complicated huge software system for time to be spent building out an elaborate password reset feature. The impact and user’s effected are minor in comparison to say the landing page a user sees when logging in. Heck we have the best password reset flow in the industry, but our landing page is mediocre because we wasted time on something that really doesn’t matter.

When building software, or managing a team focus on things that actually matter. You may find you have features that have a large impact on a small number of users, that still needs to be prioritized because the small number of users make up the majority of your revenue. The model is different for each software application I’ve worked on.

I’m going to close with a list of things that I feel in most cases are low priority/low impact features that need to be functional, but doesn’t need to be overthought.

  • Password Reset (as mentioned above)
  • Settings Screen (generally in mobile applications)
  • FAQ screens (these need to be there, but don’t spend time making them more than what they need to be)
  • Image uploaders, don’t overthink image uploaders at first especially if the images aren’t used for anything more than a logo. Tell the user to upload an image the size it needs to be for example 256 x 256. Don’t spend time on a cropper for a single profile image
  • Administrative Tools, tools that are only used by super users, these impact a small subset of users (generally only the owners of the software)

Hopefully this helps make your projects more of a success in the future, just remember that a lot of little things with low impact can add up to a lot of time that could of been used on things that matter more.