Consider the Support Burden of New Features

One aspect of product management that took me many years to appreciate is the potential support burden of new features. When developing a new product, even in the first 12 – 24 months, it’s so easy and quick to implement additional functionality there’s a tendency to add new features without regard to longer term implications. The most important aspect of product management is to be opinionated about what goes in, and doesn’t go in, the product.

Here are a few tips when considering the support burden of new features:

  • Pay particular attention to anything that allows custom code like HTML, CSS, or scripting as these are challenging to support
  • Watch for difficult user experience interactions like multi-select conventions
  • If you find strong contention internally for how a feature should be implemented it could be equally challenging for users to use regardless of how it’s done
  • Consider if the feature should be part of a specific plan or offering (e.g. more expensive plan or add-on due to the complexity)

Implementing new features should not be done in a vacuum even if you are opinionated about the product. In addition to curating the product’s functionality, the complexity and support burden should also be considered.

What else? What other tips do you have when considering the support burden of new features?

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