How we decide on new features

How we decide on new features

At Moraware, our goal is to help countertop fabricators run their businesses better and to make life a little easier for our users. The customer support team tries to help you make the most of what we currently offer. We also have three full-time software developers working every day to make our products better by fixing bugs and adding new functionality.

whatsnext

Perhaps you’ve wondered how we decide what new functionality to build – well, everyone at Moraware is a bit of a geek (OK, maybe not Susan – she’s actually pretty normal) … and geeks like to build cool stuff. I come up with cool ideas all the time.

We don’t build any of those cool ideas.

Instead, we only build things that our customers ask for. Over the last several years, our industry finally learned that this is THE critical component for succeeding as a software business – building things our customers want instead of what we think is cool. After all, we’re not fabricators – you are. YOU know what would make our software better, because you’re using it every day.

Does that mean if you ask for it, we’ll build it? Not exactly. We have a lot of customers now with a lot of different perspectives. We record each and every request that people ask for. Soon we start noticing similar requests and note that more and more people are asking for something. Sometimes people ask for the same thing in different ways, so we talk a lot amongst ourselves to figure out what the real problem is for most customers. For example, people have asked for an “iPad app” for CounterGo – after digging in a bit more, we realized people mostly wanted CounterGo to work better on tablets without using a mouse or stylus, a feature we added recently.

We also consider how difficult a feature might be to build. For example, integration with QuickBooks or other accounting programs would be great – it’s one of our most requested features in fact – but it’s REALLY hard to get right. That’s the biggest reason you haven’t seen that feature yet – simply because it’s hard.

Of course, even trivial features usually turn out to be harder to build than you might think they would be – “adding another button” has an impact on the way the software looks (clutter is bad – simple is good). Changing the way the price list works has an impact on security. Changing the way anything works – even if it’s overwhelmingly positive – affects what people are used to. Making CounterGo work better on tablets was a much requested feature, yet a couple of users didn’t like the change. We try to be extremely sensitive to changes that might confuse existing users – that’s part of the reason you might not see a feature that otherwise seems like an obvious fit … we have to consider how a change is going to impact ALL our users.

We love it when you ask for new features. When you do, we might ask for more detail, such as how you would expect it to work and, more importantly, what scenario would it apply to – what problem are you trying to solve. Again, asking these questions doesn’t mean that we’re going to make a change, but the first step to a solution is always understanding the problem.

Whenever you ask if our software can do something different, we’ll try to give you a workaround. Sometimes, the workaround is good enough that there’s no reason to build the feature – for example, CounterGo will never be able to draw every kind of counter. The goal is to draw 95% of the counters you bid really fast. For the outliers, the workaround is to get it close enough in CounterGo to price it, and then use your CAD tools or pencil-and-paper to create a drawing to show the customer (and you can attach the file to the quote). We’ll continue working to improve the drawing experience, but it’s never going to replace a CAD program – we don’t want to sacrifice speed and simplicity for a countertop that you might only create once a month.

You’re probably wondering when you can expect to see <insert your favorite feature here> … the truth is that I can’t say – in fact, I can never promise you that we’ll ever build a specific feature. For the features we’re working on, It’s impossible to predict when they’ll be ready to release (without messing up something else) … and every so often, we’ll build a feature and decide not to release it, either because it’s not good enough or because it messed up something else. Or we might get halfway done and realize that we need to pause this one and implement a different feature first. That’s why we don’t announce what we’re working on – we simply announce new features when they’re done.

While I can’t tell you what we’re working on, I can tell you that we’re listening. We love listening to your ideas – hearing what you want next from us is what drives us … we’re working every day to make our software better than it was the day before, and we get all our ideas from customers just like you.

By the way, we don’t listen nearly as much to non-customers who say, “If you build this, then I’ll buy.” It’s really hard to know what works for you and what doesn’t until you use the software – so we place much greater emphasis on the thoughts and ideas of the people who actually purchase and use our software … customers like YOU.

Got an issue with the way something works in our software or an idea to make it better? Please let us know at support@moraware.com or mention it the next time you’re on the phone with us. (Quick tip: in newer versions of Windows, there’s a piece of software called Snipping Tool – it’s a great way to take a picture of your Moraware screen so that you can show us precisely what you’re talking about.)

Thanks!

2 thoughts on “How we decide on new features

  1. Gerry Dyck

    We are in need of having the Countergo program to do the following: Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Track – RST on cost
    Calculate – PST on selling
    Calculate – GST on selling

    Any thoughts?

    Regards,
    Gerry

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