Radically Honest Blog

You Need to Complete Features [11/100]

We must complete what we started. It’s a simple yet important lesson I’ve learned in my life. The lesson is simple—but actually completing stuff is hard.

I read a book to the end, even if it’s not particularly interesting. I go through with and publish these blog posts, even if they don’t work out as well as I want them to. I accomplish a run, even if I don’t feel like it.

However, there are loads of other things I still have no idea how to follow through on. Yet. I’ve spent 14 years building my previous company, started a lot of Features there and haven’t carried through them. I hope next time I’ll do better.

What does it mean to complete a Feature?

Completing a Feature means bringing it to a state where there’s little to improve. So that users can hardly find any issues. Have you released a Feature and received a ton of feedback? The Feature is still not finished. Have you fixed everything and received a ton of feedback still? Then it’s still not finished.

Why is completing Features essential?

Because the end-user benefit of the Feature does not increase linearly.

When you make a Feature, it brings in very little value—right until it reaches a certain level of completeness. It usually takes several iterations to polish a Feature up to that degree, several delivery/feedback phases, and, basically, it takes many months.

Here’s a graph of a Feature’s readiness. 👇 If it is 80% ready, users benefit about 20%. Only when it’s about 90–95% ready, users begin to be more satisfied and happy.

Feature completeness vs. end user value
Feature completeness vs. end user value

What happens to a product with multiple unfinished Features?

It simply cannot become people’s favorite.

Users will be constantly unhappy. They will experience permanent discomfort. They will grumble—rightly so. They will eventually churn.

Some product with multiple unfinished Features.
Some product with multiple unfinished Features.

Say your product has loads of functionality, but it’s all not quite ironed out. There’s a search Feature, but it doesn’t work for tags. The product allows working with Kanban, but a user can’t flexibly customize the board. There are notifications, but only email ones, no Slack. Everything is kinda in its place, and you can even start selling this product—but something is missing. The product feels unfinished as if made with no love. And if there’s no love in it, there is no life in it.

It’s much better to have just several finished Features in a product than loads and loads of unfinished ones.

Here’s a simple lesson I learned. One needs to complete Features to get satisfaction from their work, enjoy a sense of mastery, and show the love one’s got for the job they do. One needs to complete Features for the products to be truly alive. ❤️

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