There is a reason for the word “release” in software business
Every process is perfect until you add real life human interaction. Then everything gets fuzzy.
Take business canvas model and sketch MVS in 30 minutes. No problem. Let’s even decide to have the release date in 90 days from today. Perfect.
While the days are running out, user tests are piling up. We feel that our hypotheses have been validated since users are saying: “If you add that one feature, then I’ll buy it after release”. Wonderful! Now we can start to fill estimated revenues in our excel sheets.
There was suppose to be code freeze in 14 days before release date. Right? Well, one potential customer just emailed that they are going to go for another solution unless we add this one additional feature. Okay, the hell with code freezing, let’s do that. Who really cares about it if we release a bit later anyway? Let’s do it all at once and then keep counting the revenue.
Now it’s out there. We kind of released it. It took about 123,5 days. Come on, sales people, show me the money! Where are the paying customers?
Oops, besides these additional, unique and highly customised features, customers expect your service to fit effortlessly into their daily lives. They want your service to change their lives. Not the other way around.
How come we did not notice these things in our user tests? Because it wasn’t real. They were focused, we were helping them out. Now they are suddenly alone. They are in a hurry, they don’t have patience anymore and they always want more. That’s how I feel about every single app in my mobile phone.
We are almost back to square one. But, this time we understand the meaning of “Release”. It means, you need to let it go. Let it go after 90 days. Let it go sooner rather than later.
User tests are critical, but you easily just validate your own ideas. The user is on your side, trying to give her best shot. After all, you are offering coffee and paying attention to her. But only after release will you know whether they pay attention to you also when you are not holding their hands.
We just released our next version. We are so sure that now we got it right. We will learn to let it go…