by Wicher Visser

This translates well to software development. For product managers, features are their units. A new feature is an investment with a promise to generate income (new customers, more business, etc.) and comes with a cost. It is important to realize that there are direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are the teams working on creating the feature (e.g. UX designers, business analysts, developers, and DevOps engineers) and infrastructure (new servers, cloud capacity, etc.). Indirect costs are often not taken into account but can have a strong negative effect. The most important factor is technical debt. If this is not appropriately identified and tracked during the product lifecycle, product managers are likely to take incorrect decisions due to incomplete information. Development of new features could take much longer, the application may not scale with its customer base and becomes slower, and bugs start appearing.

Any number of side effects may occur when rushing through a release. A wise product manager consults its team on expected and hidden costs early on. Architects play a pivotal role by ensuring that structural decay stays within acceptable limits. Information is king, invest in quality, and make sure your lines of communication are short, frequent and transparent.

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