The Unimportance of Features

Posted on: 06.08.2015

As we work through our seventh prototype release, we are slowly transitioning out of a feature orientated phase, and into one that is focused on integrated functionality. Creating enterprise software is a fine balance between a products feature set, and incorporated functionality of those features. Although these terms sound similar, their real world application is vastly different. Features are ‘a distinctive attribute or aspect of something’ whereas functionality is ‘the quality of being suited to serve a purpose well, practically’ (Oxford Dictionary, 2015). Therefore, by definition features are singular qualities, and functionality is extended practicality.

This balance and the importance of functionality is what our competitors simply haven’t understood. Composing a product fragmented with features that individually have limited functionality fails to generate a user experience that is intuitive or efficient, just ask their customers! Embracing a philosophy of adding feature, after feature without considering the functional or practical implementation is detrimental to the overall usability, which is why these systems are so poorly regarded. They create more work than they solve, because they’ve prioritised features over functionality.

Composing a product fragmented with features that individually have limited functionality fails to generate a user experience that is intuitive or efficient, just ask their customers

When you have a product designed on the foundation of functionality, like we have at Glaass, you turn features into practical tools that proactively enable teams to complete work in an efficient manner. We only release features that empower and enrich construction teams to build incredible things. Every new feature must meet our strict design criteria to ensure they are practically viable, integrate with existing features and have an extended roadmap of future functionality. If this can’t be achieved, for technical or practical reasons, we simply don’t include them. This relentless passion for quality is what sets us apart.

This relentless passion for quality is what sets us apart

Of course, there are successful applications that perform just one task well, with limited to no inbuilt functionality. These systems are rare enterprise markets and are typically reserved for specialised applications, in specific scenarios. With enterprise systems like Glaass, it’s the integrated functionality within each feature that creates tools to finish tasks faster, easier and more efficiently. An abundance of functionality far outweighs an excess of features.

Having a rigorous design system ensures our features are practically useful, which is by definition, functional. We take this philosophy so seriously that our public release product will include just half of our strategic features. This culture guarantees Glaass users a range of features that work harmoniously together, update after update, actively reducing workload on teams. After all, that’s the real value of enterprise software systems.