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Steve Hallman
Steve Hallman

Posted on • Originally published at theagilecouch.com on

“Feature” is Ambiguous.

Great joke of course.

We’ve used the word feature to the point that it’s lost specific meaning. A feature could mean, “this field will retain your data for the next time you log in”. A feature could also mean “big green button”. A feature could also be almost any object or landmark. That big rock that looks like a bird’s head is a feature on the way to the world’s largest ball of twine.

I realized this as I was writing about an accidental behavior, that some might claim helps a customer. “Well, it wasn’t planned, but you could consider that a benefit if…”

This is the reasoning behind the joke, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature”.

My question was, “Was this designed as a feature?”

I realized someone could answer, “Yes, that field is a feature”. Or be confused, thinking “The Product Owner created that object as a feature (story), and we made it. Of course it’s a feature”.

I don’t mean “was this object as part of the GUI, designed?”

What I really should be asking is, “Did someone argue that this would intentionally create a benefit for the customer?”

“Does this add value?”, is something we should be asking more often.

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