Programming in Crunch Time – Beta Releases and Marketing

I haven’t been posting as much lately mostly because I have a large deadline looming here in September.

But I think I want to take this into a more stream of consciousness blog than really technical. Don’t get me wrong, as I come across things that are technical in nature, I will still post what I learn.

But really this is in relation to my last post about time management. When it comes to crunch time for programmers you have to be able to focus on what is important. It’s ironic that I am even writing a blog about it. But I reached a good point and I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject.

We have a HARD deadline where demos of a particular product are expected but it isn’t quite complete, nor will it be complete in time. Luckily, everyone is in agreement that this is okay, from management on down. It sounds quite weird but hear me out. The HARD deadline in this case is a trade show. A very LARGE trade show. And in this instance, we aren’t focused on getting every bell and whistle out to clients. We want them to see the potential and come back for more.

If I could sum it up, the product does not have to be complete in order to begin thinking about the other side of software business. You can begin to market, do small roll outs to customers, beta releases or anything similar. The product does not have to be mature in order for you to begin marketing. Some people even prefer to be on the bleeding edge by helping you shape the direction of the product. Customer feedback is very important and they may also notice features that they want that you never picked up on.

As programmers, we here consistently about testing and things of that nature. What better way to test than to get prospective users to USE your system before it is production ready. If you want to learn more about what I am talking about, research more on minimum viable product releases. It may not be right to include everything in the first release. Leave them wanting more!