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What is Gold Plating?

Posted by Adrian M.

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Gold Plating is the addition of features or feature attributes to a system which may be nice but not necessary to achieve the desired need or objective of the system.  These gold plated features are generally added with good but misguided intentions. The problem with gold plating is that it uses valuable resources (time and money) on features which are not essential in the face of finite budgets and project timelines.

Example: Consider the customer’s need for a simple contact management system where basic prospect information can be tracked (name, address, phone number) and where a history of interactions with the customers can also be entered.  Now let’s say that while developing the screen to add basic prospect info, the development team spends time creating a “cool” feature which allows the address of the prospect to be shown on a map before adding the ability to track the history of customer interactions.  The mapping feature would be gold-plating.

As it is often the case, the gold plating is introduced with the belief that the customer may be impressed by the cleverness of the development team and the coolness of the newly added features.  While that may be the case, at times, it will be short lived as the customer eventually realizes that he/she is the one paying for these unnecessary features at the expense of higher priority capabilities.

So let’s summaries some characteristics of gold plating:

  • Gold plating is adding capabilities or features which are not required (out of scope).

  • Gold plating adds unnecessary cost to the project.

  • Gold plating increases the risk of missing the project timelines.

  • Gold plating can cause a rift between the client and the development team.

  • Gold plating is not living within your means (well, the project’s means).

  • Gold plating is not the same as scope creep.  Gold plating is caused by the development team (analyst, programmer, designer, etc.) whereas scope creep is generally caused by the customer or customer’s representative asking for non-essential features. .



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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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