‘Tick Box’ Solutions

Invariably, a customer will come along and want you to build some feature into your system that covers a ‘tick box’ for them. In other words, it’s something they don’t really care about or need but someone above them is telling them to do.

What the customer is saying is, “hey, my boss is telling me that we need a way to cover our asses in case someone comes alongs asking questions. If you build this one little thing we’ll be good.”

Sales may be pushing the “throw the thing in there” so the deal closes. The owner wants the deal to close as well. Marketing wants something to tell customers about.

The problem is that building that one-little-thing has costs. Hard costs. Opportunity costs. Engineering costs. Product costs. Usability costs. Some on and so forth.

The bigger problem is what it will cost existing customers. Do they want a box ticked? What will they gain or lose from adding such a feature?

The lifespan of a ‘tick box’

How long a ‘tick box’ is required is an important idea to understand. Will developing an unwanted-but-still-asked-for feature be necessary a year from now?

If the answer is ‘no,’ then don’t build it.

Will the feature be used with pleasure by your core customer base?

If the answer is ‘no,’ then don’t build it.

How you decide to build features should not be driven by potential customers who are asking you to build things even they don’t want.

If what your making for a customers fulfills a ‘tick box’ for them, how much will they value it in the future? What will happen when guards change?

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