Who is this feature for?

In software development, when thinking about and designing new features, or trying to solve existing issues, it’s important to, early, ask the question: Who is this feature for?

That applies to writing tools intended for your developer colleagues, web application features for customers or anything in between.

I found, that the result only tends to be good, if the feature or solution was actually designed for a specific person, doing specific task and this solution allows them to improve the way they do this task considerably.

For example when deciding for a Content Management System for a website, developers often jump to first evaluating various offerings out there, based on features, APIs and supported languages. Instead of first identifying the person that is going to be working with such a system and establishing what their workflow is going to be. What’s important for them, what’s not important and only based on that then look for a solution, or build a custom one.

Tools that are build for a very specific need and for a real person that can tell you, this helps, or not; tend to end up being simpler, more pleasurable to use, last longer and require less maintenance and generally tend to achieve the goal set out for them at the beginning.