Saturday, 8 February 2014

Feature Creep

From Wikipedia[1]:
“Feature creep, creeping featurism or featuritis is the ongoing expansion or addition of new features in a product, such as in computer software.”
It carries with it negative connotations of over-complicating the design, adding features that are unrelated to or go beyond the original function of the program, adding features that are of no additional value to the users because software developers thought it would be a 'good idea'™.

In a worst case scenario Feature creep could result in the original program becoming a 'platform' or 'framework'. Though, I doubt it not that many good frameworks originally started out this way.

An example

The example I wish to focus on today is the widget displayed in the upper-left corner of the article. We've recently installed a 'smart' electricity measuring device, which can be bolted onto the original Electricity meter.

Now, I have certain assumptions about the software that was included, namely that it would show me my consumption of electricity over time, possibly using nice colourful graphics.

And it does do that, make no mistake, and I am very happy with it.

But why, oh why, did they add an RSS Feed to (a Dutch newssite) to the widget? Did the developers think it's a good idea? Did they have the implementation of the RSS feed lying around, and thought, 'hey, why not cram that in there as well?'. Did they think 'Oh, when someone wishes to check the news, they'll naturally check our energy widget?' Does it have any added value for me as a customer at all?

Why? Can someone please tell me?


[1] Wikipedia - Feature creep

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