Building software is a bit like constructing a house, but instead of bricks and mortar—we use lines of code and databases. Every feature in the software is a room in this house, each serving a unique purpose. Yet, not all rooms are used with the same frequency.

In software, there’s an inescapable truth: a handful of features get used all the time. They’re the kitchen of your software house—the place where your users gather, engage, and derive value. The rest? They are the attic or the guest room. Occasionally visited, rarely used.

Double down on the kitchen. Invest your energy there. It’s a high-traffic area, the soul of the house, used by everyone. If you add a shiny new espresso machine or a state-of-the-art oven here, everyone benefits. Improving these high-usage features amplifies the value, much like a multiplier effect. Your software becomes not just good, but exceptional.

Adding a gold-plated faucet in the seldom-used guest bathroom? Sure, it might impress a few, but the impact is limited—restricted to only those few who venture into that territory. Investing in rarely-used features only benefits a minority. A dazzling, but ultimately futile endeavor.

Designing software is a journey, a strategic one. Every decision impacts the roadmap. Spending your resources on enhancing the universally used features fast tracks you on the path of bringing maximum value to all of your customers.

Be a savvy architect. Build with purpose. Put the focus where it counts the most, and watch your software come alive.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.