Microspeak: Value proposition

This term is used outside Microsoft as well, but it still bothers me. The value proposition is the benefit that the end-user gets from your product, the thing that convinces them to buy it. What makes it even more annoying is when it is abbreviated to value prop.

Sample usage: "The main value proposition of this model is that it permits changes to be tracked without imposing a significant burden upon the editors."

Comments (14)
  1. Lauren Smith says:

    Which is why I call it unrealized realizable beneficial outcome(s) of usage.

  2. Erik says:

    Actually I find this an acceptable term if it’s used during the planning stages of a project.  The product hasn’t been created yet.  The team is proposing to create a product.  Management wishes to understand the proposition, specifically in terms of its value to the user.  Reasonably clear phrase in my mind.

  3. ::Wendy:: says:

    Ah, the answer to the very useful question:

    "remind me why exactly we are going to to this?"

  4. Wakka wakka says:

    Ah, the value prop… staple of budget actors everywhere.

  5. SM says:

    No, no. The value prop was what helped power the valujets.

  6. Barry Leiba says:

    The related one that bothers me more is "value-add", as in, "What’s the value-add of your product?"


  7. Kyle says:

    My biggest problem is that once you created a value proposition it could be more important for some people in marketing to "Demonstrate" it, than to add features than actually deliver.  I can’t tell you how many features we had that "Demostrated Value Propositions", but didn’t do anything useful.

    In other words, lots of time was spent on the proposition, but little on the value.

  8. Mikkin says:

    Not just Microspeak, I hear this a lot. I take it as a red-flag indicator that the speaker is unable to quantify an ROI for the imagined benefit.

  9. Caliban Darklock says:

    You know you’ve spent too much time with marketing when you read the objections to a term like this, and you start feeling compelled to defend its utility and propriety in modern business.

    In other words, to explain the value proposi… oh, crap.

    If you only knew the power of the dark side.

  10. Humint..... says:

    I’ll give you a usability nightmare!


    Read it and weep!

  11. Humint...... says:

    Oops wrong thread! :)

    It’s not much of a "value prop" either.

    You get it, you don’t know what to do with it, and it makes everything pear shaped!

    Perhaps it makes sense to give it back in the wrong place, after all!


  12. European says:

    "What makes it even more annoying is when it is abbreviated to value prop."

    It reminds me of the "agit prop" in Communist countries…

  13. Anon says:

    I dunno, at least it shows managers actually pay lip service to adding features that are useful to the user. I’ve seen features added by programmers that cause users to go ballistic when they find out that it breaks some weird but vital use case they have that no one knows about. What’s annoying is that people then start talking about policy and security and standards as if they didn’t have a choice about adding the feature. And pointing out that the use case is the wrong way to use the software.

    You can see the effect on this blog – there are lots of Windows features added so broken third party code can keep running and people complain about the inelegance of them without realising that the elegant solution they want would cause the tech support line to be jammed with angry people.

    My conjecture is that capitalism and a strong marketing department actually helps prevent this sort of thing. If the company is insulated from commercial pressure from users it’s easy for programmers to do insist on a ‘pure’ design that massively annoys end users. And I think that’s the edge Windows has over other less commercial OSs. Sure the code may be a bit hard to read, but that’s because it supports third party apps doing insane things. And an majority of people care more about the apps than the elegance of the code.

  14. Bryan says:

    Personally, I rather proactively synergize all my cooperative team-building efforts to mitigate channel-based concerns while increasing my personal value proposition in order to further drive customer satisfaction and additionaly expand my bandwith for future-oriented growth capability.

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