Deciding which features to cut

When building ad-tech, sometimes you need to know when to let go. Below we speak to our Technical Product Manager, Darren Whittingslow, on the process we take.

We believe that to be a programmatic agency that gives leading service to clients, we need to build our own technology.

But with the pace of change in the ad-tech industry, the constant technology upgrades and updates can be expensive and time consuming. With the excitement of the next big thing, it is vital to keep up with what we have already built. But, how do you know if features are redundant, how do you know when it is time to let it go?

It is easy to get into the habit of improving your systems and forgetting about the upkeep of old features. Feature requests come from a variety of places: end users, strategic planning, client requests, and management. Determining the less required requests can be difficult and sometimes impossible until you have developed them.

When you release a feature, it is important to create and monitor a KPI to measure the success. If this KPI is not being met, this is when action should be taken.

 

What questions to ask to determine the fate of a feature:

  • Do people know this feature exists?
  • If not, inform and allow time for the KPI to be met.
  • Is there planned usage of the feature soon? How much would be running?
  • Is this feature a strategic advantage for the client using it? Would budget be lost at a greater level for this particular feature not being available?
  • If yes, maybe the KPI needs updating to allow for a strategic measure.
  • Is your KPI still applicable? Is seasonality causing a slump in the feature being used?
  • If yes, again, maybe the KPI needs updating to allow for seasonality.
  • Is the feature difficult to use, setup and keep track of?
  • If yes, how can you improve the functionality so people will use it?

If all these questions have been raised and the feature still isn’t performing, it’s time to let it go.

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To ensure success with the products and features you create, you should:

  1. Make sure they are fit for purpose
  2. Determine if they are worth the effort, energy and cost. Which are trackable through KPIs?
  3. Be ruthless and cut features that are no longer relevant and/or cost effective

 

Keeping a feature or integration up to date and in line with upgrades of your base code is essential to making sure your systems don’t fail. There are always unforeseen impacts if something isn’t up to date, which can be costly. By doing a feature audit today, you can determine the resource needed to update historic features, to then see what time and money could be spent to develop and launch new products or features that are going to delight the client.

 

Darren Whittingslow, Technical Product Manager, Infectious Media.