Published on September 7, 2010

This post was previously on the Pathfinder Software site. Pathfinder Software changed its name to Orthogonal in 2016. Read more.

All too often, it’s easy to forget the core product when new ideas, extra bells and whistles and added complexity strain a product’s focus. When this happens, try the mantra “Remember the Core Product.”

The mantra is a reminder that a product does not need to do everything, and can succeed by doing even just one thing very well. When chaos strikes, try viewing your product in terms of only its core features. Even if you could not market the product in such a form, you may find you can do without some things that seemed essential. When it comes to scope, commit to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) set of features around which to build the first release. If your MVP isn’t simple, effective and marketable keep trying for the right combination of stuff rather than just adding stuff. Third, remind your team throughout the process what the core product is, so when it comes time to make trade-offs everyone can reference the “core” and make productive decisions.