Is there a standard for what % of time a SW dev team works on features to satisfy existing users?

Hello TSIA community!

I hope you are all doing well. I am hoping to get some insight from the community regarding on average, what percentage of time a software development team is working on different types of feature work for a given product. While I understand this is going to differ depending on what type of product they are working on or how long a given product has been released, I am just trying to look to see what others have experienced.

The different buckets of feature work I was think of were the following:

-New features/UX to expand market reach to bring in new users

-New features/UX to satisfy and provide value to existing user base

-Tech debt items 

-Customer issues/escalations and product bug fixes

I am also not sure if others view those top two buckets of feature work as different areas or just merged and prioritized as a single backlog. If you treat them as a single backlog, do others see potential for the new features to expand the market to starve out the development time from the features for existing users? If not, what metrics do you use to justify the existing user feature work over the feature work for new markets?

I appreciate any insight and look forward to the responses.


Best Answer

  • Laura Fay
    Laura Fay VP & Managing Director, Research & Advisory Member | Guru ✭✭✭✭✭
    Accepted Answer

    Hi @Tommy Glicker . Great Question and one that many product teams grapple with. Thanks @Patrick Carmitchel for sharing your own roadmap capacity management methods. I conducted a survey on lifecycle management practice that addressed this very topic. We can see what the percentages are across the industry for each of the areas you call out.

    It's data that's available to members of the XaaS product management research practice, of which NI is a member. If you have a moment and can log the request through the 'Ask a Research Executive' button above right, that would be great. I'll get you that data.


  • John Patrick Azurin
    John Patrick Azurin Member Success Coordinator Moderator | mod

    Hi Tommy!

    Thanks for your question. @Denise Stokowski, @Joseph Reifel, or @Kim Metz would any of you have some insight to share around how your organizations have approached this?

  • Patrick Carmitchel
    Patrick Carmitchel VP Product Management TSIA Administrator | admin
    edited June 10

    @Tommy Glicker this will depend on the metrics by which product success is measured. As far as the industry data goes, I would encourage you to participate in the XaaS Product Management benchmark to get the best insight specific to your company and industry comparisons. In our world, development team effort breaks down like this:

    1. 25% new feature (including testing)
    2. 25% current feature enhancements (including testing)
    3. 20% current feature issues (internal and customer)
    4. 10% continuous performance improvements (not including technical debt)
    5. 10% technical debt
    6. 10% process documentation and automation

    It's important for us to call out the time that is being spent on performance improvements, process and documentation because time is continuously spent during and between sprints—it takes more time than we like to think 😊. We use tags and epics to distinguish these buckets while keeping things centralized in a single product backlog.

    The blog below references XaaS Product Management benchmark:

    According to the XaaS Product Management benchmark, a median of 30% of the roadmap is spent on incremental feature functionality and 12% on managing down tech debt and just 4% on telemetry and analytics. - Laura Fay

    @Laura Fay anything else you would like to add? Are you seeing a distinction in development effort on features to capture new market over feature enhancements to grow current markets served?

  • Thank you both @Laura Fay and @Patrick Carmitchel for your responses on the question. It was helpful to see your real-world example Patrick and Laura I will be sure to fill out the "Ask a Research Executive" to gain access to the additional data.

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