Numbers are not enough

Recently I had to make a software selection based on many technical aspects of each product.

This was a cross-functional team initiative, so each team would need enough ownership to dive into the product and assess whether or not the feature was complete, sufficient, etc.

So I decided to prepare both a document with all the features to check for each team and a spreadsheet with a list of them to easily compare the products between themselves.
On each row I added two columns. “Is it feasible?” “Notes/Extra details”.

During brainstorming we thought about also adding a value number, like 1 to 5, to have an instant idea of how good/complete it was.

When I started evaluating such column I immediately thought: “How can a number express the complexity of a feature of product?”
Yes, if the feature is simple it might be ok, but we’re talking about SEO, API integrations, extensibility option, design options, etc.

They’re complex things.
Also, for each topic we had many different aspects to evaluate.
The fact that one topic had more things to check didn’t mean they had all the same value.
Some are more important, some are less important.
Some might be intentionally overlooked while others differently considered depending on the context.

A number would make it easier to make a choice in the end.
But it wouldn’t necessarily help us make a better choice.

%d bloggers like this: