Saturday, August 13, 2011

There Is No Free Puppy

Sometimes my colleagues tell me that they will include a feature in their product because it is available free from somewhere and it costs us nothing to implement. I explain to them that a 'free' feature is like a free puppy. A free puppy is really not free. Over a period the puppy grows, takes over your house and life and becomes a part of your life, whether you like it or not. You pay for food, for medical insurance, for the walker, for grooming, for hosteling when you go away and give up other activities because the puppy is home. Its is great to have a puppy. But bring it home only if you really want it. Not because it is free. Because it is almost impossible to get rid of a puppy, once we get used to it and it becomes part of the family.

A product feature is like a puppy. Even if you got it for free, you will have to integrate it into your product, write test cases for the feature, write documentation for the feature, develop training material for the feature, create go-to-market material for it, version it, upgrade it, fix bugs in it and so on.

So think twice before you bring home a free puppy, no matter how adorable it is.

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