09 Mar 2021

Functionality vs Perfection in Software Product Development

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Written by Gauri KalurkarCo-Authored with Amit Dhandal & Rahul Bagal

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A dilemma that leaves many Business analysts or decision makers scratching their heads. Technology professionals often find themselves torn over functionality vs perfection in software product development.

To get to the bottom of this problem, I reached out to the real “Xperts” in the field, IncubXperts co-founders & technical pros- Amit Dhandal & Rahul Bagal.

Rahul & Amit proposed the RPTO formula, which will help determine if we should aim for functionality or perfection. Let us understand it in more detail.

The RPTO Formula for software product development

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R : Requirements- Understand business requirements

Any business doesn’t need a system built just for the sake of it, they need it to solve their problems and make their life easy—keep this in mind, let this be your intent while you work on the solution.

Does the app need to be developed as fast as possible, or is there a priority for a rich UX? It is wise to focus on what the business needs and what the business intent is.

Understand the business, and how this particular solution is going to help solve business problems.

Reach out with relevant questions to stakeholders if you are in doubt.

Being clear with the requirements will give you a better picture and you can match your inputs accordingly.

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For instance, if you are presented with a business requirement to develop a notification feature in a mobile app, which will send out daily notifications at 9 am. Now, with this requirement in mind, you can go ahead and develop the solution straight away or you can understand the intent behind the stated requirement. Why is the 9 am notification required? How does it help the end user of the app? Can you suggest some modifications to the feature which will add more value?

Aim to understand the “why” behind requirements to deliver results that please and have an impact.

P : Perfection- Keep your inner perfectionist in check

There will always be something “more” you can do and add, but overdoing should be avoided.

Overdoing is not going to help you or the solution you are building after a point.

Another downside of chasing perfection is that perfectionism often leads to procrastination. In your quest to build the perfect solution, the backlog will keep building, landing you in a soup.

So it is important to keep your inner perfectionist in check.

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T : Time- Do you have time?

Whenever in doubt if you should build a perfect solution or something that works, ask yourself the most important question- Do you have time?/How much time do you have?

Respect deadlines and chase behind perfection only if it fits in your deadline.

Strive for functionality before aesthetics— it should work well and not only look pretty, get the app good and functional, focus on perfecting the nitty gritties of the aesthetics if time/deadline permits.

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O : Overcomplication- Don't overcomplicate

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It is important to not overcomplicate while developing solutions. Always keep the end users of the application in mind, this will keep you in check and stop you from going overboard.

If adding that extra touch you are planning to add is going to make a desirable/positive difference for the end users, go ahead and make it. If there is no tangible difference for the app users, let go, move on to your next task.

To conclude

Tapping into the rich experience of our co founders, we have devised a simple RTPO formula to help business analysts and decision makers tackle the Utility vs Perfection debate.

RPTO formula stands for Requirement, Perfection, Time, & Overcomplication

It is important to keep requirements in mind, avoid chasing perfection, be mindful of the time available & lastly to avoid overcomplication.