As a product manager, you often face challenges in deciding when to keep things simple and when to add flexibility. Both are important in a product, and finding right balance is critical for a good user experience. Diverse business environment demands flexibility - product should be able to meet requirements of different customers, in different industries and different countries. But the flexibility makes product difficult to use for end user. How to find the right balance?
I always try to categorize features in “end customer” and “backend” category. End customer feature are the ones that are going to be used by consumer of the product. I try to avoid flexibility as much as possible for those features. My goal in such cases is to get rid of any extra bells and whistle that customer is not going to use. I try to focus on the flow where consumer would spend 80% of their time and then simplify that flow as much as possible for the user.
On the other hand, I try to add maximum flexibility to backend features. Backend features are the ones that are not visible to end customer but critical for integration of the product in different environments. For instance, billing and product configuration features. I try to cast the net as wide as possible for such features and try to cover all different scenarios that product will be used in. My goal for such features is to add as much flexibility as possible to cover wide range of configuration and customer requirements. Spending precious engineering resources on such features often doesn’t have a direct impact on ROI, and therefore it helps a lot if you can integrate your product in different environment without doing too much of custom integration development.