Product teams are always working to weigh their design and development efforts against constraints. It's a fact, there will always be more features than time. So as you frame the features for a digital product or service, you balance the time you spend understanding against how many hours it takes to design and build. You have to have both in order to build a good product. But what's the 'exchange rate' for understanding? Joshua Porter (aka Bokardo) claims that it's about 10 to 1.
It’s not scientific at all but I’m now thinking that:
1 hour of research ~ 10 hours of development time.
Or, in longer terms if more people appreciated how one day of user research can save weeks of coding I think they would do it more. It is remarkable what you decide to not build after talking to a few people closely. And it is remarkable how much you can learn from just asking a few questions or showing a mockup to a couple users.
I feel like 10x is the right multiplier for small UI-centric features. Porter's blog post is about an 'infinite scrolling' UI. So when your decision is about views, controls, or containers, that math holds. But I'll bet that a strategic decision to skip (or strip down) a larger backend feature like progressive disclosure, a recommendation system or implement a personalization engine could save 100x or more.
Measure twice cut once. Especially when measuring is so cheap relative to creating, designing, and cutting.