Software Vitality.

I recently opened an MS Outlook email and paid close attention. The surface of visible options available to me was staggering. I list them below; from big buttons to smaller buttons (before any unfolding of menus or options.) If you are an MS Outlook user, how many do you use in one day? One week? (I counted five.)

  1. Reply
  2. Reply all
  3. Forward
  4. Delete
  5. Reply with Meeting
  6. Archive
  7. Ignore
  8. Junk
  9. Forward as Attachment
  10. Make Task
  11. Forward to Manager
  12. Mark as Done
  13. Team Email
  14. Reply and Delete
  15. Move
  16. Rules
  17. Forward to OneNote
  18. Actions
  19. Mark as Unread
  20. Categorize
  21. Follow Up
  22. Translate
  23. Find
  24. Related
  25. Select
  26. Read Aloud
  27. Zoom
  28. Save
  29. File
  30. Message
  31. Help
  32. Previous Item
  33. Next Item
  34. Get more add-ins (oh yeah, I needed that)

Jack Welch is credited with inventing the infamous concept of the “Vitality Curve”; the performance management practice that appeals for employees to be ranked against each other and the dismissal of the lower ranked employees. (Also referred to as stack ranking and forced ranking.)

Now, regardless of what you think of Jack Welch’s idea (I do not care for it, personally), I say that a version of it is needed to keep any software product vital.

This is one of the reasons why we need built-in telemetry embedded in the software products we create. When we do, we have the data to confidently fire the low performing software capabilities.

Just look at them in the eye and say: “It is not personal; it is only business.”