I have seen the two terms New Feature and New Development in same backlogs (i.e. more than one backlog), for things to be developed and integrated within a system/application.

I have used both myself (in my backlog for Pixic.se), since my definition of New Feature was more like inventing own functionality while New Development is more about implementing existing, but the more I added the harder I felt it was to differentiate the two terms.

Q: What are the true definitions of "New Feature and "New Development" and what is distinguished by having the two different terms?

  • What makes you think there's a useful distinction?
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 19:26
  • I assumed there is a useful distinction since I have seen it several times in documents, hence my question to get answer if there is any useful distinction and what their respectively definitions are in that case.
    – Pixic
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


In the environments I have worked in, new development is green field work where there no existing system in the target software platform. This may be a reimplementation of an existing system, or development of a new system. The scope of new development is usually quite large. Examples:

  • Writing a time and billing system to replace an existing platform. This was a replacement for a system running on obsolete hardware in a language not available on the new hardware. (Significant enhancements were possible due to changes in languages and technology.)
  • Implementing an OCR form processing system. This was to automate the capture of data which was being manually captured.

A new feature is an addition to an existing system. The scope of new feature work varies significantly. It may be as simple as adding a new field or button to a form, or require extensive modification to a system to add significant new capabilities. Examples:

  • Adding a new statistic to a data analysis report.
  • Adding selective inactive data archiving to a system where activity occurred in many tables and all related data was to be archived.

There are some activities that may be fit both categories such as adding a new report to an existing system. This may be new development as the code doesn't exist, but adds a new feature to an existing system. I would consider this a case where a new feature results in new development.

These categories exclude corrective actions (bug fixes). Some bug fixes may require the addition of a new feature, or in some cases removal of an existing feature. In this case, a corrective action results in a new feature.

  • So your definition the distinction is on level, i.e. New Development on System/Application level and New Feature within specific System/Application?
    – Pixic
    Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 9:35
  • @Pixic This is a clear distinction for terms with fuzzy edges. I tend to consider new development new code as opposed to modification and addition to existing code. This can provide an overlap in the concepts. I find the same issue with new features and corrective actions. I prefer to recognize the overlap and the cause. Other may want to use one term or the other.
    – BillThor
    Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 13:15

According with this answer (https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/58726/what-is-the-difference-between-user-stories-and-features):

New feature
..is a distinct element of functionality which can provide capabilities to the business.
..is a fairly general term for some part of the functionality of a software

And according with your own words:

New development 
...is more about implementing existing"; 

The main diference between both concepts could be: in one case your are implement a new element with new capabilities; on the other hand you are re-implementing an existing feature.

Even more, following this train of thought you can consider a new development like a issue: something to re-implement.

  • I can understand and accept the feature part, but for New Development the "prefix" New does not really fit with the description if you mean either bugfix or refactoring IMO. Besides New Feature and New Development there was also Maintenance & Bugfixes included, so New Development was not the same as issue. But if New Development is more like adding functionality to an existing Feature, then it makes more sense I guess.
    – Pixic
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 0:32
  • Example: In our Telematic System we want to add a New Feature where truck drivers can automatically get information about load weight and is also stored (sent to server). If that functionality would have existed, New Development could have been adding alarms, graphs etc to this existing Feature in the Telematic system as well as to cab display. (But would be on separate Backlogs - Telematics System separate and truck cab display belongs to vehicle.)
    – Pixic
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 0:36

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