How often should I implement a new feature in a new web startup?


What is a safe time frame that I should implement a new feature for my directory-like website so the users won't lose their interest ?


asked Dec 14 '12 at 04:16
Rob Del
113 points

3 Answers


Work on the most important features and release them when they are ready.

There isn't a magic time frame to work to.

answered Dec 14 '12 at 09:29
Joel Friedlaender
5,007 points


Pre-determined upgrade cycles make sense for complex software like an Mac OS and Ubuntu. But once your web startup has matured, there might not be much of a need for constant iterating. Think of your favorite web apps, how often do they iterate? Gmail? Instapaper? Delicious? And if you're running a "directory-like" web site, I really don't see how you can continue to add so many new features you need to set a release schedule in advance.

Just make tweaks as needed. Encourage your users to offer feedback. Perhaps you could use UserVoice to have them submit and vote on suggestions. Also, make sure you remain cognizant of how startup's value proposition and make sure that your users are extracting value from your product. (Send personalized emails to new/old/random users to find out how they are using your web site.)

P.S. Companies often forget that "User Experience" is a feature. Make your site easier and more pleasant to use can be achieved by simply increasing the size of a headline or a button. Make sure you focus on those kinds of things too.

answered Dec 16 '12 at 01:09
357 points
  • Really can't get it why you get a negative reputation for this. Thank you for your time and your help, you've answered my question exactly as I wanted. – Rob Del 10 years ago
  • I am guessing because it's completely unrealistic to think you won't need to keep iterating on any system. – Joel Friedlaender 10 years ago
  • I never said you don't need to iterate. All I said was "make tweaks as needed" as opposed to trying to cram in so many new features you need a schedule. – Richard 10 years ago


I'd propose a different viewpoint : How much can you remove and retain the services usefulness?

Each time you say yes to a feature, you’re adopting a child

From 37 Signals: Getting Real - Start with No Biggest takeaway: "Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It's about saying NO to all but the most crucial features."
answered Dec 14 '12 at 04:37
Jim Galley
9,952 points
  • True, but what I am afraid of is that the users will start losing interest. I agree with you. To be more specific, it's a very targeted business directory with a beautiful interface. Right now, the users can view everything related to the business and the business owners can register their businesses. I am looking forward to add reviews, rating, advanced search... I do not mean adding useless stuff just to "add something". I mean adding quality features that may be crucial to this kind of business. – Rob Del 10 years ago
  • I always worry that people will attempt to copy a way another business does things and expect the same result. 37Signals do some great stuff, but what they do won't necessarily work for you too. Keeping your software as simple as possible isn't for everyone. – Joel Friedlaender 10 years ago
  • @JoelFriedlaender - agree with you about 37Signals - but the Getting Real "book" isn't only about 37Signals. The takeaway quote is actually from Steve Jobs. Jeff Atwood [wrote]( about this (like a bunch of others) that it isn't about simply saying no. Its about avoiding piling on feature after feature trying to be all things to all users (approval committees as well.) – Jim Galley 10 years ago
  • @jimg I follow that principle myself with my own business, I just don't think it's right for all. Especially if this person is very new and lacking features is costing them business, then saying "no" to features is the last thing they need to worry about. It's good advice to be aware of, I just hope people really consider their own scenario instead of following it blindly. – Joel Friedlaender 10 years ago
  • I wanted to add `The paradox of choices` which can be overwhelming if too many features (choices). Abdias Software 10 years ago

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