Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Too Much Functionality Could Kill You

Over time almost all the software products get extra features. With each new version they grow with at least 5% of the new lines of code, I assume. New modules appear in the light of the day, everything is getting bigger and bigger (sometimes even slower and slower, and then it is optimized with the next release over and over again).
It is a usual practice, and it is inevitable even in the majority of cases, I predict, because customers generally look to get most for their money.

Bang for the Buck

I may say: 'Oh, what a wonderful world of the software applications with the never ending story where more features mean more work to do/upgrade!' :)
Comparing the other worlds e.g. cars or mobile phones we see many similarities.

Who uses more than five features of their phones? ;)

I'm not going to criticize it, or even I may argue that it can be fully acceptable in case the new options are simply manageable, 'turn on/off', e.g. Firefox has add-ons.

Thus, the main question is:
Should the core functionality of the systems be simply manageable as well?

The answer is as always the same: 'It depends ...'

OK, ok, ok. But, why am I bothering about that now? :)

Yesterday I read an interesting post '8 CMS features customers want but never use' and I found this list a little bit surprising. The 8 CMS features (see below) are really common in the RFP (Request for Proposal) which I regularly encounter at my work and I have always been sure that those features are MUST BE not NICE TO HAVE for the CMS customers. I will now have to look at them from the different perspective.

  1. Workflow
  2. Color coding changes
  3. Microsoft Office integration
  4. Future preview
  5. Back-end analytics
  6. Advanced search
  7. A/B testing
  8. Frontpage editing

The above mentioned list was created at a meeting of the European CMS Expert Group, which meets regularly to share experiences and sets the agenda for the industry, thus, the list is supported statistically.

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