Also known as scope creep or requirements creep, feature creep is the tendency for product features or project requirements to increase during development, beyond the original scope. These additions can increase the complexity in the functionality and or the design, making the product less user friendly and compromising its overall value.
Avoiding feature creeping is especially important for entrepreneurs starting out with an MVP (minimum viable product) marketplace, because the whole purpose of an MVP is to gauge what features are actually important to your users. It’s common to think that it’s absolutely necessary to build everything you think users want, but feature creeping in some cases, will cause more disadvantages than rewards.
Why is Feature Creeping Bad?
- Unmanageable Costs: Each new feature added means more development work, potential bugs and utilizing more resources from you and us. The additions also typically affect the deployment date and project cost. Every change implemented requires building, testing, iterating and then launching and supporting it. It’s good to have a budget set aside for added development for the first year operating your marketplace, but you don’t always have to use it all for the first version. Keep in mind that our team can make additions and edits at any time, but we like to keep you grounded until you get users to balance that cost with your monthly income as well.
- Increased Complexity: Feature heavy products and websites often include complicated user interfaces or user experiences. Users don’t actually enjoy having tons of features and options when they are learning a new site, as it can often create confusion. You want users to come back, not feel overwhelmed by the amount of features your site offers. It’s also fun for them to see slow progressions over time, as that will boost confidence that you’re constantly improving the product for them as a client.
- Poorly Defined Goals: The ongoing addition of features can take you away from your original purpose and overall goals. You could lose sight of why you wanted to create this marketplace to begin with because it gradually morphed into something completely different. If you want a well defined product, you must be comfortable killing features. This also helps you be adaptable to unforeseen, future shifts; so banking those ideas and budget to launch them when truly necessary will help you reach your overall goals.
Avoiding Feature Creeping
Unfortunately, feature creeping is unavoidable and sometimes there’s a good reason for expanding a product’s feature set. We encourage our clients to always think about what features they want to add for future versions of their marketplaces as their user base grows. This is why it’s important to add those feature ideas to your ongoing wishlist, so we can provide more information like cost and timing. We want to ensure that any new feature added to your marketplace directly supports your overall purpose and goals. To make a wishlist simply submit a request at the bottom of your screen and make the subject line wishlist then write the description in the main body. We will give you a price quote and keep it in our records. If we don't already have this feature we will give you a price quote and timeline in which to would take us to finish it. Whether you decide to do it now or later you will have it in your records.
Regardless of what stage or version your product or marketplace site is in, it’s important to always focus on overall quality and user experience.