Breaking the Suck Threshold

One of my favorite blogs ever was Kathy Sierra’sCreating Passionate Users.’ She had over 400 posts, most with some of the most brilliant and funny graphics, covering user design, development, management, and anything else that she felt passionate about. Unfortunately, she discontinued her site back in April 2007. Every once in a while, I go back and browse through her content for fun. Here’s one of my favorite graphics:


The idea of the suck threshold is that when most new platforms or products are released, a good portion of your end users will respond by saying, "Well, this sucks." The longer you take in providing them with the features and….wait for it….business value that they need to be productive, the less likely you are to win them over once you deliver. That means you need to deliver quickly. How best to achieve this? Be clear on business priotities up front, and deliver the functionality that gives you the most bang for the buck first, and then iterate. Short iterations with fewer features allow you to adapt and change as feedback comes in from your end users, possibly changing the direction of your initial planning efforts.

End users tend to do a funny thing – once they see something partially completely, they change their minds about what is important. You need to be able to react and adapt to meet those needs. But if you do this, you'll find yourself crossing that passion threshold much more quickly.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.

1 Response

  1. February 2, 2022

    […] We’ve all participated in the creation of something – a website, a tool, a process – that may have been the “right” think for our team or company, but that lacked support from leadership and/or end users. And so it failed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from customers who went about deploying SharePoint the wrong way, and even though they eventually “got it” and delivered what end users wanted, the damage had already been done, and their end users refused to support anything with the ’SharePoint’ label attached. It can take considerably more time and cost to win your end users back over than it would to take the necessary planning steps up front, and get end users involved. (for more on this concept, check out my old post on Breaking the Suck Threshold) […]