Feature creep. Scope creep. Slow and stealthy, this can take you by surprise if you’re not careful, and is a major driver of development costs.

Be wary of death by 1000 cuts. When building software, time and cost directly correlate with the features you want to include.

Picture this: Each feature you’ve carefully designed is simple, and has real value for users. But before you know it, your budget has doubled and you aren’t sure how you got there.

So how do you avoid this? This is a tough one because as a startup, you’re constantly evolving your product ideas. Changes are normal, and important, because they’ll get you closer and closer to the right product to test your market. Don’t be afraid of this.

As you go through product design, wireframing, and visual design, keep asking yourself the following questions:

1) Is this feature necessary for my MVP to work?

2) Is this feature part of the core value proposition of my product?

If the answer to either of these is “no”, consider putting that feature on your product roadmap for a future release.

Remember, by launching with a slimmed down MVP, you can test your idea with the market without too many sunk costs. It’s easier to scale up your product once you KNOW what to include, than to re-work what you THINK your market wants.