“But our customers don’t want 10 new versions a year. The last release alone had over 600 bugs!” retorts the hotline manager. “How about a small update with just a handful of bugs?”
Your big-bang release is scary. It’s full of issues and weird, new features that nobody understands. It requires documentation and training and who the hell has time for all that?
Monthly, bite-size updates will have fewer features requiring less support (pro-tip: less code == less bugs). Speeding up your release cycle also allows quicker response to customers’ feedback. You’ll finally feel your company moving in the right direction again.
Of course, it’s easy to say. But how can you actually achieve this positive flow? Follow these key points and you’ll be well on your way.
Keep it Simple Stupid
- don’t spend three months gathering specs
- create immediate user value (MVP) and prepare to iterate based on customer feedback
Cross-functional Team Empowered to Release
- Product owner, QA and devs write acceptance test together up-front
- devs code until test is green
- sysadmin deploys live
Automatic Distribution Channel
- easy way to get updates out quickly and reliably
- painless for the customer to install
Switch on the Feedback Loop
- know about problems before the customers (and have fixes ready to deploy)
- listen to what customers are saying about the new features and adjust for the next update
Bonus: Business Shifts to Monthly Subscription Revenues
- align the business with the development schedule
- inflexible departments don’t work well with motivated project teams
- make sales with a carrot not a stick ($19.99/mon vs $3000/yr)
Out with the Lion and in with the Lamb
Which of these two beasts would you rather handle? Thinking about opening up a petting zoo and charging money? I’m pretty sure not too many folks would pay to pet an enraged lion, yet that’s exactly what enterprises expect.
It’s time to tame our releases. Make them something our users actually look forward to.
“Would you look at that? What an adorable little thing!”