Mastering the Art of Saying “No” to Unnecessary Features

Every product founder, CEO, or stakeholder involved in a project has felt the pressure to implement new features. But Des Traynor from Intercom argues that we should resist the temptation to add unnecessary features and instead focus on mastering the art of saying “no”. Let’s explore why it is beneficial to be selective with features and how to spot the unnecessary ones.

The Power of Saying “No”

Traynor argues that saying “no” is often more effective than adding more features. If a feature is causing more problems than it solves, then it is probably better off removed or replaced with something else. He also asserts that great products are not defined by their features but rather by their ability to make users happy and successful. By focusing on what’s truly important for customers, we can avoid getting bogged down in feature creep.

That said, it isn’t always easy to reject an idea for a feature, especially if it comes from someone senior in your organization or from an influential customer. Traynor outlines three common arguments used for sneaking in unnecessary features and provides advice on how to navigate them effectively:

1) Appeal to raw numbers – This argument relies heavily on metrics such as usage data or customer surveys which can seem powerful at first glance but offer limited insight into whether a feature will actually drive value for customers;

2) Observed competitor features – It can be tempting to copy a competitor’s feature just because they have it, but without understanding the context behind why they implemented the feature in the first place, you may be missing out on valuable information;

3) Cultural pride – Having too much cultural pride can lead us to push ahead with questionable ideas just because they originate from within our organization instead of focusing on what really matters – delivering value for our customers.


Des Traynor makes an excellent case for mastering the art of saying “no” when it comes to unnecessary product features. By being selective with what we choose to implement, we can focus our time and resources on creating high-value experiences and avoiding clutter that detracts from user experience. Weighing up requests for new features against what value they bring our customers should help us stay focused and keep us from wasting time working on things that won’t move the needle forward. For project founders, CEOs, and stakeholders alike this advice provides an invaluable perspective when considering implementing new product features. Applying this wisdom will help ensure your team creates products with meaningful impact today and well into the future.

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