How To Avoid Asking For Features You Can't Afford For Your Startup




"Be careful what you wish for." This should be the mantra of every non-technical person when they ask techs if something is possible. Why - because we live in an age where we put a man on the moon before I was born and we have flying cars.


Virtually anything is possible. So the question you should be asking is not could we do it, but should we do it.


Firstly lets put aside the business reasons why we should or shouldn't put in a piece of tech. That is for another discussion. What I'm talking about is the size and complexity of a feature from a technical perspective. There are times that a requirement or feature is requested that appears to be easy or trivial by non-technical people, but in reality, it can be quite complex to implement. I call this a Lollipop Problem. The Lollipop problem is where you, as a technical person, are asked to produce a feature that to the untrained eye appears to be easy. However, to deliver the feature requires tremendous effort. It's like being asked to produce a lollipop. To create a lollipop one would need a lollipop factory. When you have made the lollipop, if the flavour or colour isn't right, then factory needs retooling, new lollipop engineers are required, and the whole supply chain needs adjusting for the fresh ingredients. There has to be a better way. The size, scale and effort of the requirements are apparent when both parties talk frankly and openly. With this new perspective, alternative features and prioritisation of requirements can produce better outcomes.