Friday, October 5, 2007

Beta is the New Final Release

In a recent post I talked about integrating Web 2.0 in your organization. One of the statements I made was that when you implement Web 2.0 technologies you should expect to encounter bugs, poor interfaces or poor usability. In other words, beta releases will most likely remain in beta or a work in progress (WIP). It's simply par for he course.

BNET recently published Perfectionists Despair: Digital World “Always in Beta” to their website. It's a nice, quick little article that hits the following points:

  • Speed will trump perfection. Time to market is crucial in the digital world and a "not ready for primetime" software or web application won't necessarily be held against you (author's note: BlogRush is a prime example).
  • The pace of business is so fast, there's really no way you can release a flawless product if you expect to make any kind of significant impact.
  • Consumers (end-users) aren't really consumers any longer. They are now your beta testers or your usability test subjects. Learn from them and engage them in a meaningful conversation. You'll learn more about your product and how it relates to them than you'll ever know.

I for one am glad that the acceptance of betas are in the digital realm. Imagine if betas were acceptable in the cars we drove or the household appliances we used. Life would be more exciting, but much more dangerous than it already is (depending on your lifestyle).

1 comment:

Patrick Lee said...

I think it's high time we update an old maxim:

"Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and web applications."