Features Express System Value. Features are the way to describe the value of a system. They are paramount when you consider development. Features are what people are willing to pay for. All the things a system does are abstracted into a set of features by the systems engineer. if a set of features is what a customer is willing to pay for then extra goodies are not.

Functions built into a system not related to a feature do not contribute to the value.

One of the main reasons systems go over budget is because of a phenomena known as feature creep. This occurs when features are added or extended after the approved feature set is determined.


Another problem with feature creep is when (usually after several releases) so many features are added to it, that the original design is overextended. I have said for a long time that;

much of system refinement is like taking a ball peen hammer to a Volkswagen Beatle and attempting to turn it into a Cadillac.
It may look like a Cadillac when you are done but it will be… very, very, brittle. I don't like being the messenger here but some times you have to design again from scratch.

One of the ways you control the overall cost of a project is to verify that all functions are allocated to features. If one of the (not for free) built functions (something the system does) does not correspond to one of the original features, then it is part of a new “Free” feature that the programmer decided that the customer was entitled to have.

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