in Observations, startup

iterative development

We’ve all had it drilled down our throats that development should be completed in short-sharp iterations. “Release early and release often” – no agile developer gets up in the morning without repeating this mantra to themselves before they reach the sink. However, surely it’s important to realise the difference between “Release early and release often” and “Release utter shit early and release utter shit often”.

Who really wants to use an application/toolkit/library that has so many bugs in it that the user experience is dreadful? Surely users would rather wait a few more weeks for something that is, in a sense, polished? I mean we’re not talking Microsoft Vista style release cycles here, but quality control consisting of a little more than running a set of unit tests would be nice.

So what has prompted this minor rant? Well Firebug unfortunately. I hate to criticise it because it’s free but the bugs I find in it are getting worse and worse. The most recent one being that the continue button no longer works in the latest release (1.4.0b10). Sigh. However, open source or not, my feeling is that if you choose to do something then do it properly or not at all.

Anyway. Regardless of the product, it surely makes more sense to sacrifice your release schedule a little for some real testing and bug fixing? For commercial products a bad user experience is going to make a sale difficult both now and in the future. Being first to market is one thing, but it’s far from being the only (or even main) contributing factor to a products success – Google and Facebook being good examples of this.

So is it possible just to have a little common sense about all this and maybe restate the mantra as “Release quality early, release quality often”. It can’t be that hard, right?

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