The Pit of Success: Harnessing Enterprise Templates to Streamline Development and Boost Productivity

I was listening to Andras Velvart‘s session about “More Enterprise-y Unity Applications”, and he mentioned a topic very close to my heart – the Pit of Success. So, why it is close to my heart? Because I wrote my master thesis on this topic 😀

In the world of enterprise software development, the pursuit of success often involves building complex systems with numerous features and functionalities. However, there’s a paradoxical concept known as the “Pit of Success,” which suggests that sometimes the path to triumph is not paved with more features but rather with the strategic elimination of unnecessary ones. This article explores how enterprise templates can be a powerful tool in guiding developers away from the Pit of Success, helping them disable unnecessary features, streamline development processes, and ultimately increase productivity.

The Pit of Success

The “Pit of Success” is a term coined by Jeff Atwood, co-founder of Stack Overflow. It describes a situation where the default behavior of a system or platform leads developers, often unintentionally, toward making incorrect or less efficient decisions. In essence, it’s a counterintuitive scenario where success becomes elusive due to a system’s design or complexity.

Many enterprise software projects suffer from feature bloat, where developers are constantly pushed to add new capabilities to the application. This can result in a convoluted and overwhelming codebase, leading to increased maintenance, slower development, and a higher likelihood of introducing bugs. The Pit of Success emerges when developers follow this feature-centric path, despite knowing that it may not be the best approach for the long-term success of the project.

Enterprise Templates: A Solution

To escape the Pit of Success and steer developers towards a more streamlined, productive path, enterprises can leverage templates or predefined project structures. These templates serve as a guide, providing a pre-established framework that includes essential features while excluding or disabling less critical ones. By employing such templates, development teams can focus on what truly matters, reduce development complexity, and enhance productivity.

Here are a few key benefits of using enterprise templates to disable features and make developers more productive:

  1. Simplified Decision-Making: Templates provide developers with a clear, predefined structure that eliminates the need to decide which features to include or disable. This simplifies decision-making, reduces uncertainty, and allows developers to concentrate on core functionalities.
  2. Faster Development: With the extraneous features disabled, developers can allocate more of their time and energy to building and optimizing the core components of the application. This accelerates development cycles and reduces time-to-market.
  3. Improved Code Quality: A streamlined project structure, as offered by enterprise templates, can lead to cleaner, more maintainable code. Developers can focus on writing high-quality code for the enabled features, resulting in fewer bugs and easier troubleshooting.
  4. Consistency Across Projects: Enterprise templates establish consistency in project structures, coding standards, and best practices. This consistency is invaluable for large organizations with multiple development teams working on various projects.
  5. Reduced Technical Debt: By discouraging the inclusion of superfluous features, templates help avoid accumulating technical debt. This debt often arises from hastily implemented, unnecessary features, and can be a significant burden for development teams in the long run.

Implementing Enterprise Templates

To successfully employ enterprise templates, organizations must take several steps:

  1. Define Clear Development Guidelines: Establish guidelines that define what features are essential for your projects and what should be disabled. Ensure that these guidelines align with your business objectives.
  2. Create and Distribute Templates: Develop templates that reflect the defined guidelines and provide them to your development teams. These templates should include a project structure, codebase, and configuration files, with non-essential features disabled.
  3. Training and Onboarding: Train your development teams on the use of these templates and encourage their adoption in new projects. Ensure that developers understand the rationale behind feature disablement and the benefits it brings.
  4. Continuous Improvement: Regularly review and update the templates to adapt to evolving business needs and technology trends. Solicit feedback from developers to refine the templates further.


The Pit of Success is a pitfall that many enterprise software development projects must navigate. By embracing enterprise templates that disable unnecessary features and streamline development processes, organizations can effectively guide their developers toward a more productive path. With simpler decision-making, faster development, improved code quality, and reduced technical debt, enterprise templates are a valuable tool in achieving success while avoiding the pitfalls of complexity and feature bloat.

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