Argumentum ad populum is that the best way to beat your competitor is to one-up him. If he has 2 features, you need 3 (4 would be even better). If he is budgeting 1 x $ on his solution, you need to spend 2 x $.
To hit the market early and within budget, your feature development strategy must focus on creating the bare essential functionality. So in this vein, you should make it prove itself to be a “worthy survivor”. Your features need to be tough, resilient, and lean. I have come to embrace the U.S Navy SEAL’s “hell week” screening approach before letting any one of them into my development cycle.
In the words of Ecclesiastes, there is a time and purpose for everything under heaven. In the early stages of a startup’s life cycle, process is negotiable. Too much process may hinder the speed in which you can build a functional POC. In later stages, however, good process and procedures (e.g. requirements, QA, unit testing, documentation, build automation, etc., ) are critical. They are the very foundations of any commercial grade product.
Your customers are no different than the people who are looking to buy a specific tool for a job. To deliver the right product functionality without getting lost in the technology jungle, you need to develop an understanding of how successful products are developed in other fields.
Most failures in software usability can be attributed to poor decisions at the executive level, which are promulgated due to a culture of silence. Developers and designers should be encouraged to think critically about their work and be provided with official channels for expressing their opinions (in a non polemic manner).
The greatest engineering feats are the ones we don’t notice. The hallmark of a great designer is his ability to translate complexity into simplicity. The automatic transmission in a car represents significantly more engineering effort than a manual transmission, but it positively transforms the average user experience. The best consumer electronics always focus on hiding complexity, not showcasing it.