It’s a sad reality, but 80% of product features rarely get used.

It’s gross. Like when a friend tells you about that rare, but horrible illness. First you feel lightheaded (or maybe its just me). Then you wonder….why the heck are they telling me this? I’d be perfectly fine NEVER knowing that ever existed.

We all have “I’d rather not know” buckets and we put all kinds of things in them. How our divey restaurant food is prepared. Rare illnesses. And the truth about product adoption.

The truth is sad.

Early in your career, you kind of assume people just adopt features. You build it, they use it. It’s that simple. Then after a decade of looking at feature adoption reports, you realize how much software goes unused.

I knew this from experience, but Pendo’s 2019 Feature Adoption Study gave it a number. 80% of features are rarely or never used. Beyond that, they estimate that publicly-traded cloud companies spent $29.5 billion developing these unused features.

$29,500,000,000…and that’s just for a subset of software companies.

That bothers me.

But you know what’s worse?

People’s time.

At that number, you’re looking at 400 million hours of people’s time wasted. Talented engineers dumping their efforts into things that didn’t ultimately matter — at least as far as the user is concerned.

Time spent:
– discussing
– planning
– defining
– coding
– testing
– deploying
– documenting
– supporting
– maintaining

We owe it to ourselves and to our teams to take feature adoption seriously. When we don’t, we light hard-earned cash on fire and waste peoples precious time. I don’t think that’s hyperbole. I think that’s reality.

We’ll never hit 100% feature adoption.

But what bar will we set for our teams?


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