Trim the Fat – Reduce the Waste!

Let's Get Skinny, Ok?

I recently saw a graph from The Standish Group quantifying that only 20% of all delivered software features are “often or always used.” This is a pretty staggering statistic to take in, considering when I think of this in light of what my client is building right now for their customers. Could it be said that only 20% of our effort is used??? Think about that for a minute!

What we could do is to completely elaborate, build, test, or document our releases so we can, when looking back, see what was most important to the user… but this would be too late…


What we could do is to focus on value and risk. In order to spot and eliminate fat and waste we need to make sure that we have a prioritized backlog based on the value the stories bring or the risk they address. Remember, this list is a collaboration between the team and the product owner!

So what can we do to make sure we’re on target?

  1. Keep the backlog prioritized by value and risk
  2. Do not help the most important user persona in our domain to monopolize our utilization
  3. Create features that have proven metrics to decrease issues with quantifiable savings
  4. Work first on bugs that have been shown to be a root cause of costly issues and bottlenecks (i.e. performance, exceptions, long downtimes, etc)
  5. Fix what’s broken
  6. The feature is a proven innovation that has been prototyped and tested
  7. The feature opens a new market that is quantified and targeted

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