If your software product is starting to feel like a giant, bloated mess, it might be time to try a rarely-used approach: removing unused and outdated features. Just like pruning a hedge, removing the "cruft" from your software-as-a-service (SaaS) product will result in a more recognizable shape and a clearer vision of what your product is all about. But be warned, not everyone will be a fan of change. While you can safely ignore the complainers, pay close attention to those who react negatively to feature removal. You never know how customers are using your product in unexpected ways until you mess with their workflow. And for the love of all things holy, never remove accessibility features. Impaired users rely on these features to be able to use your product.
So when is it a good idea to remove a feature? There are a few reasons:
If the feature is simply unused. If customers have stopped using it, it's just cluttering up the user interface and causing confusion.
If the feature distracts from the focus of your product or makes it too complex to use.
If the feature is expensive to maintain. If it's causing performance issues or costing more money than you're willing to pay, it might be time to say goodbye.
But removing a feature isn't as simple as just hitting the delete button. You'll need to consider how it will affect your current customers and make sure to communicate the change effectively. And if you do decide to remove a feature, make sure to have a plan in place to replace it with something even better.
So don't be afraid to prune your SaaS product every once in a while. It might seem intimidating at first, but in the end, you'll have a leaner, meaner product that's a delight to use. Just make sure to handle the change with care and you'll be well on your way to a successful pruning session.