This old mantra still does the rounds:
Release early, release often!
This doesn’t give you the full picture.
When I first started out creating my own apps and product, I was scared. Scared that something would break, data would be lost and my reputation would be ruined.
My first software job was in a company who serviced big retail companies. If our software went wrong they would lose a lot of money.
So quite rightly we had lots of procedures, testing environments, and careful planning to minimize that risk.
After I left that job, I kept that attitude with me.
When creating websites for small businesses, I used testing environments, version control and careful planning.
The amount I got paid wasn’t worth that extra effort. A bit of downtime wouldn’t have affected my customers.
When I created my first product, Fresh Store Builder, I spent months perfecting it and making ready to release to the public.
I hesitated and kept telling myself that it needed “one more feature”.. and eventually a good friend of mine convinced me to just release it.
It was an overnight success and the extra few months of development wouldn’t have made any difference.
What does early mean for your project?
Aim for the minimum amount of development to achieve your goal.
“Minimum” is different for every app and project.
Is this a brand new idea that nobody else is really doing? Get it out ASAP and don’t worry if there are a few bugs. People will use it and you need to get yourself established.
Are you competing with an established solution? Fix the pain points, get two or three features in it that they don’t have and focus on a good user experience.
It boils down to two polar viewpoints:
- Every day your app is not on the market is a day of lost sales.
- An underwhelming early release may damage your reputation permanently.
Can you find a balance between the two?
What is more important for your project?