Why So Many Betas?

Several people have asked me recently why I release so many alphas and betas of my software before doing an actual release. There are a number of reasons:

  • I like letting early adopters get their hands on new features early on in the development process. This allows them to take advantage of the new features and also gets me early feedback about problems they might have with the implementation of a certain feature. When that feedback comes early in the process, it’s a lot easier to change it without too much pain.
  • More testing finds more bugs. People use software in many different ways; the more people that get a chance to test the betas, the more likely it is for a bug to be caught that might not come up in my usage or testing.
  • There’s a lot more to a release than coding. The documentation has to be updated, the web pages need to be updated and my back end systems need updating. For the Tasks offerings I also need to disable certain functionality1 in a version for the demo and set up a template install for the free trials… it all takes time. By working on the code first and letting it go into beta, I can then work on all the other release related stuff (along with any bug fixes that might be needed in the betas).

Perhaps if I had a QA department, a documentation team and a marketing team to handle all this other stuff, I’d take a different approach. Who knows. :)

  1. E-mail notifications and file uploads. [up]

This post is part of the project: Tasks Pro™. View the project timeline for more context on this post.