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Focus On What To Leave Out

This post is from LeadingAgile by Rick Austin. Click here to see the original post in full.

As an avid photographer I’ve learned a lesson that sometimes a well composed photo depends more on what is left out of the photo. More is not always better and can sometimes ruin what could have been a good composition.

As an example, this photo is as was taken. I realized there were distracting elements (the house, dead tree) and the composition was just not one that created a compelling photo. The highlighted section is where the final crop was made. I left out more than I left in and I believe the end result was a more pleasing composition. You can see the final image here but that is not relevant to this article.

I believe this concept can be applied to software development. We talk about determining the minimal marketable features, those that must exist for a product to meet the user’s needs. This requires us to be very intentional about what we leave out. The Standish Group notes that 45% of software features are never used and only 20% are always or often used. Those are astounding figures that illustrates the tremendous potential for wasted effort...

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